Scientists at the US space agency NASA have claimed to detect water vapor above the surface of one of Jupiter’s moons. Jupiter is the fifth plant in the solar system. Also, it is the largest planet among the eight known planets. It has 79 known moons. According to NASA scientists, the moon in the question is Europa. It is the smallest of the four Galilean moons discovered in 1610. Scientists claimed that the latest discovery is yet another clue that Europa could host life. Scientists said that they are confident that there is a liquid water ocean, possibly twice as big as present on Earth. The agency said that the latest findings make Europa a high-priority subject of study for life. The agency said that it will send a spacecraft to Europa to search for more ingredients for life.
NASA planetary scientist Lucas Paganini said that scientists have not yet spotted liquid water directly. But finding water in the form of vapor means it could support life. The Hubble Space Telescope of NASA had first spotted water vapor on the Europa surface in 2013. However, nobody measured it directly. This is for the first time when scientists have measured water vapor on Jupiter’s moon. It is about 5,202 pounds. Scientists used a spectrograph at the Keck Observatory, Hawaii to measures the chemical composition of Europa. Scientists studied Europa for 17 nights between February 2016 and May 2017. They claimed to detect a specific infrared signal in April 2016 that could only be due to water molecules. Notably, when water molecules react with solar radiation, they release specific frequencies of infrared light. Scientists measured this infrared signal to measure water vapor above the Europa surface.
NASA said that it is planning to investigate Europa’s habitability. The agency by mid-2020 may launch the Europa Clipper mission. The spacecraft will look for ingredients for life on it. The spaceship will pass the moon several times and send data back home for study.