Hubble Spots Water Plumes on Europa
The geysers could make it easier to search for life under the ice.
Analysis of Hubble ultraviolet-light images of the moon from 1999 and 2012 suggest that subsurface water sprays out of the moon's south pole in two geysers that are 124 miles (200 kilometers) high, according to the study led by planetary scientist Lorenz Roth of the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in San Antonio, Texas, and released Thursday by the journal Science.
"We can potentially fly through it, analyze the composition, and understand directly what's the chemistry of the subsurface," said planetary scientist Robert Pappalardo, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who was not involved in the study. "It's extremely exciting in terms of being able to sample Europa's material."
The moon, some 1,900 miles wide (3,100 kilometers), possesses only a tenuous