They detect for the first time the presence of water vapor on a Jupiter satellite


NASA scientists observed how about 2,360 liters of water appeared for a second on the surface of Europe.

An international team of scientists confirmed the presence of water vapor on the surface of one of Jupiter's natural satellites, the so-called Europe, says a NASA statement, issued on November 18.

"The essential chemical elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur) and energy sources — two of the three requirements for life– can be found throughout the solar system. But the third, liquid water, is somewhat difficult to find outside the Earth, "said scientist Lucas Paganini, who led the research." Although scientists have not yet detected liquid water directly, we have found the second better thing: water in the form of steam, "he added.

The finding came as a result of observations that were made over 17 nights, between 2016 and 2017, from the Keck Observatory (Hawaii, USA). The results of the study were published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.

An ocean under the ice


The researchers could see how about 2,360 liters of water appeared for a second on the surface of Europe, in the form of columns, and affirm that with that amount it would take only a few minutes to fill an Olympic-sized pool. However, they detailed that the amounts of water that could be detected from Earth arise on the surface of Europe "infrequently."

According to the US space agency, the detection of this steam will help scientists to better understand the "internal functioning" of that satellite. In addition, it supports the theory that Europe has an ocean of liquid water – "possibly twice as large as Earth's" – under a thick layer of ice.

Along with this, there are other hypotheses that could explain the origin of steam in that space body. These include the existence of reservoirs of melted water under the ice and the extraction of water molecules due to Jupiter radiation.

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