Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM)
Could Jupiter's Moon Europa Have an Ocean?
Could Jupiter’s moon Europa have an ocean? Find out now – on “Space Shorts.”
Here on Earth, water covers three fourths of our planet. That’s a lot of H2O! Europa may have twice as much – right under its icy surface!
Why do scientists think so?
First – A spacecraft showed us! Europa’s surface is mostly made of water ice, with some salts.
Second – We see lots of cracks and ridges, but not so many craters. It may be that an underground ocean causes the surface to warm and crack – again and again – changing the landscape and erasing any craters.
And the final most compelling clue? Europa’s changing magnetic field. What’s under the surface conducting that much electricity? A hidden, salt water ocean explains it!
A future NASA mission can tell us for sure if Europa has an ocean. That’s the next step in knowing if this mysterious world has the right conditions for life.