This artist's impression shows the water vapour plumes from Europa's south pole.Pointing the powerful Hubble Space Telescope at the planet Jupiter and its icy moon Europa, scientists have observed evidence of what looks to be geysers of water vapour shooting from Europa's surface.
The smallest of Jupiter's 'Galilean moons', Europa's entire surface is hidden away under a thick layer of ice and what scientists believe is a subsurface ocean, possibly kept warm by tidal forces from Jupiter's immense gravitational pull. Up until now, there's been no direct evidence of any liquid water, so whether or not that ocean under the ice exists has been up for debate. However, these observations show strong support for the idea that the ocean is there.
The images taken by Hubble were from November and December of 2012. In the November observations, when Europa was closer to Jupiter in its orbit, no plumes or geysers were seen. In December, when Europa was further away from the planet,Read More »from Possible water geyser spotted erupting from Jupiter’s moon