Hubble finds evidence of water vapor on Jupiter’s largest moon


Scientists found the first evidence of water vapor on Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede.They used Hubble Space Telescope Find steam, which is formed when the ice on the surface sublimates and changes from a solid to a gas.

A team led by Lorenz Roth of KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, inspected the data captured by the Hubble Universe Origin Spectrometer in 2018 and imaged the space telescope imaging spectrometer acquired between 1998 and 2010. The UV image captured by STIS in 1998 shows “a band of colored charged gas called the aurora,” according to NASA (It launched the Hubble Telescope as a joint project with the European Space Agency).

Researchers previously believed that atomic oxygen could cause discrepancies between UV images captured over time. However, using data from the Cosmic Origin Spectrometer, Ross’s team found that there was almost no atomic oxygen in the lunar atmosphere. Therefore, there must be another reason for the difference.

The temperature of Ganymede’s equator may rise enough to release some water molecules from the surface ice. When they re-examined the relative distribution of aurora in the ultraviolet image, Ross’s team found that the difference between them matched the expected water location in the lunar atmosphere.

Previous research has shown that Ganymede may have more water than all of our oceans.The moon’s oceans are considered Approximately 100 miles below the surface, So the steam does not come from there. Due to the temperature of the moon, the water on the surface is frozen.

This discovery was made before ESA’s upcoming mission JUICE or Jupiter ICy satellite explorer. The mission should launch in 2022 and reach Jupiter in 2029. It will then spend at least three years inspecting the planet and its three largest moons. JUICE will pay special attention to Ganymede, both as a planetary body and as a possible habitat.

“Our results can provide the JUICE instrument team with valuable information that can be used to refine their observation plans to optimize the use of spacecraft,” Ross said In the statement.

NASA’s Juno mission Since 2016, he has also been studying the environment of Ganymede and Jupiter (also known as the Jupiter system). The agency said that examining the Jupiter system and understanding its history “will give us a better understanding of how gas giant planets and their moons form and evolve. In addition, it is expected to find new insights on the habitability of Jupiter-like exoplanet systems. .”

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