JPL: New Insights into 'Ocean Worlds' in Our Solar System

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JPL: New Insights into 'Ocean Worlds' in Our Solar System

Postby bystander » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:06 pm

New Insights into 'Ocean Worlds' in Our Solar System
NASA | JPL-Caltech | 2017 Apr 13

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Two veteran NASA missions are providing new details about icy, ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn, further heightening the scientific interest of these and other "ocean worlds" in our solar system and beyond. The findings are presented in papers published Thursday by researchers with NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn and Hubble Space Telescope.

In the papers, Cassini scientists announce that a form of chemical energy that life can feed on appears to exist on Saturn's moon Enceladus, and Hubble researchers report additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter's moon Europa. ...

The paper from researchers with the Cassini mission, published in the journal Science, indicates hydrogen gas, which could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life, is pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor. ...

The paper detailing new Hubble Space Telescope findings, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, reports on observations of Europa from 2016 in which a probable plume of material was seen erupting from the moon's surface at the same location where Hubble saw evidence of a plume in 2014. These images bolster evidence that the Europa plumes could be a real phenomenon, flaring up intermittently in the same region on the moon's surface. ...

Evidence for Habitable Region within Saturn's Moon Enceladus
Southwest Research Institute | 2017 Apr 13

Cassini finds molecular hydrogen in the Enceladus plume: Evidence for hydrothermal processes - J. Hunter Waite et al
Hubble Spots Possible Venting Activity on Europa
NASA | STScI | HubbleSite | 2017 Apr 13

Active Cryovolcanism on Europa? - W. B. Sparks et al
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