NASA detects water vapor at Jupiter’s Ganymede, the largest satellite in the solar system

NASA was the first to detect water vapor in the atmosphere. Ganymede — Not only Jupiter’s largest moon, but the largest moon in the entire solar system.

Researchers made their discoveries using both new and archived data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope resumed activity after a sudden computer anomaly. shut down One month with the system 32 years ago. They published their findings this week in the journal Nature Astronomy.

According to NASA, Ganymede’s water vapor forms during the transition of ice from the surface of the moon from solid to gas, skipping the liquid state, also known as sublimation.

Previous studies have suggested that Ganymede is included More water Better than all of Earth’s oceans, the sub-zero temperature of the Moon means that the water on its surface is completely solid. The ocean is actually about 100 miles below the crust.

Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is larger than both Mercury and Pluto and is thought to contain more water than Earth.

NASA / JPL / Galileo probe

So where does the water vapor come from?

Researchers compared two observations of Ganymede in 1998 with another series of observations in 2018. He discovered that there was a contradiction in the data decades ago.

In 1998, the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph took the first UV image of Ganymede, showing off a band of colorful electrified gases of the Moon known as the Aurora Band, proving that it has a permanent magnetic field. At the time, scientists believed that high concentrations of atomic oxygen were responsible for the subtle differences found in Hubble’s images.

A recent study using Hubble’s cosmic origins spectroscope sought to measure the amount of atomic oxygen in Ganymede’s atmosphere and compare it with archived data from 1998 to 2010.

Hubble finds evidence of water vapor on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede NS
NASA Goddard On youtube

Surprisingly, researchers found very little atomic oxygen in the atmosphere.

After reviewing images of Ganymede’s aurora, the team found that as the surface temperature of the moon fluctuated throughout the day, it became warm enough to cause sublimation near noon near the equator, releasing water molecules. Did.

“In a broader sense, this finding indicates that we need to know what to focus on when analyzing the data. The signal from H2O has been present in HST images since 1998.” Said lead author Lorenz Roth. “Without new data and predictive additional information from theoretical research, we knew what to look for and where to look. The Hubble Space Telescope’s huge dataset over the last 30 years has added to it. There will be many discoveries in space. ”

In 1998, the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph took these first UV images of Ganymede. This revealed a specific pattern of observed emissions from the Moon’s atmosphere. The similarity of UV observations was explained by the presence of molecular oxygen. At the time, this difference was explained by the presence of atomic oxygen, which produces a signal that affects one UV color more than the other.

NASA, ESA, Lorenz Roth (KTH)

Where there is water, there may be life, as we know it.Astronomers say finding liquid water across the globe is very important in finding others. A habitable world..

The European Space Agency will also launch the Jupiter Ice Satellite Explorer (JUICE) on the gas giant in 2022, arriving in 2029, to observe the planet and its largest satellite potential habitat for several years. I want it.

“Our results can provide the JUICE equipment team with valuable information that can be used to improve observation plans to optimize spacecraft use,” Roth added.

Earlier this month, NASA’s Juno probe Approaching the For over 20 years, it has sent back images to Jupiter and Ganymede that are better than any other spacecraft.

“This is the closest spacecraft of a generation to this giant moon,” he said. “I’ll take some time before drawing any scientific conclusions, but until then, I can just be amazed by the wonders of this object, the only moon in the solar system that is larger than Mercury.”

NASA detects water vapor at Jupiter’s Ganymede, the largest satellite in the solar system

Source link NASA detects water vapor at Jupiter’s Ganymede, the largest satellite in the solar system

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