A subterranean ocean thought to be beneath the surface of Jupiters moon Europa could be strikingly similar to the seas here on Earth. NASAs Hubble Space Telescope spotted the presence of sodium chloride, also known as simple table salt, on the icy planets surface. Sodium chloride is also what makes the Earths oceans so salty, leading scientists to believe there may be more similarities between the two bodies of water that are yet to be discovered.
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A subterranean ocean thought to be beneath the surface of Jupiters moon Europa could be strikingly similar to the seas here on Earth, as scientists found traces of table saltThe findings are detailed in a new study led by researchers from the California Institute of Technology and published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
While the oceans are beneath Europas surface, the exterior is basically made up of frozen seawater. This means that below its icy exterior, theres likely to be a vast salty sea containing large amounts of sodium chloride.Scientists confirmed that it was sodium chloride on Europas surface by obtaining four observations of the moon from the Hubble Space Telescope from May to August in 2017.
Researchers scanned Europas surface with the Hubble, as well as infrared light, which revealed traces of sodium chloride. RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next
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NASAs Hubble Space Telescope (pictured) spotted the presence of sodium chloride, also known as simple table salt, on the icy planets surfaceThey compared these observations with previous data gathered by the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer on the Galileo spacecraft in 1998, which indicated that the moon may contain table salt on its surface.
However, that study didnt indicate whether the surface salt had originated from Europas subterranean oceans. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT EUROPA? Jupiters icy moon Europa is slightly smaller than Earths moon.Europa orbits Jupiter every 3.5 days and is tidally locked - just like Earths Moon - so that the same side of Europa faces Jupiter at all times.
It is thought to have an iron core, a rocky mantle and a surface ocean of salty water, like Earth. Unlike on Earth, however, this ocean is deep enough to cover the whole surface of Europa, and being far from the sun, the ocean surface is globally frozen over.Many experts believe the hidden ocean surrounding Europa, warmed by powerful tidal forces caused by Jupiters gravity, may have conditions favourable for life.
.Nasa scientists are on the verge of exploring Jupiters ocean moon Europa.....