A look at Europe made from NASA Galileo spacecraft images (late 1990s)
Scientists have provided additional information about the appearance of water jets on the surface of the satellite Jupiter of Europe. This raises hopes of obtaining samples for analysis on signs of life.
The frozen surface of Europe has long been considered to be covered with a salty ocean, which is twice as large as the Earth’s. Considering the expected abundance of warm liquid water under the ice kilometer thickness of a kilometer, the satellite is considered the best candidate for NASA to search for extraterrestrial life.
However, launching a robotic spacecraft and punching the surface will prove to be a more costly and complex mission than the same operations for discarded materials from a water plume on domestic lines. Twice NASA received evidence of the presence of jets in the Hubble telescope.
New data come from measurements obtained even in the flight of the Galileo spacecraft. The information dates from the closest approach to Europe on December 16, 1997. They decided to reconsider in order to find evidence in favor of the jets. Galileo launched in 1989 to the fifth planet in order to study it and dozens of satellites. In 1995, it became the first mechanism to enter the orbit of a gas giant. Before stopping the mission in 2003, Galileo sent the first data hinting at the presence of a liquid ocean of water beneath the surface of Europe. The new study measured changes in the magnetic field and plasma waves. It turned out that they are coordinated with the spacecraft intersecting the jet.
The team was able to restore the trajectory of the spacecraft in order to accurately determine the location on the satellite. These data will affect the choice of future missions, including Clipper and JUICE, which will arrive to the planet in 2020-2030s.