View Full Version : Hubble Discovers Water Plumes Erupting from Europa

2013-Dec-12, 05:20 PM
It’s been known since 2005 that Saturn’s 300-mile-wide moon Enceladus has geysers spewing ice and dust out into orbit from deep troughs that rake across its south pole. Now, thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we know of another moon with similar jets: Europa, the ever-enigmatic ice-shelled moon of Jupiter. This makes two places in […]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/107144/hubble-discovers-water-plumes-erupting-from-europa/)

2013-Dec-12, 07:15 PM
Make me thirsty!

2013-Dec-12, 08:24 PM
Very cool. :) So now it's Europa at Jupiter, along with Enceladus at Saturn.

2013-Dec-12, 09:59 PM
And some dried fish in Jupiter orbit ?

2013-Dec-13, 03:09 PM
No, because the geysers don't have anywhere near escape velocity.

However, this is a juicy possibility for a sample return mission. A Europa sample return mission wouldn't need to land. Instead, it could simply orbit Europa with an aerogel based sampler exposed to capture geyser particles. Maybe the capture samplers could be integrated with folding solar panels to maximize capture area. (Juno and JUICE use solar panels.)

Such a mission might return Europan microbe remains/spores, or it might help us rule out Europan life. Either result would be huge, since we utterly lack any samples from liquid water environments outside of Earth.

Compared to an Enceladus return mission, a Europa return mission would require far less delta-v and could launch in any year due to yearly launch windows. Solar power could be used, reducing cost and greatly reducing impact to other missions (Plutonium-238 resources are extremely tight right now).

2013-Dec-13, 03:12 PM
And some dried fish in Jupiter orbit ?

Whales I would think. :)