NASA Has Revealed The Most Compelling Evidence Yet That Europa May Be Able To Support Life

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Jupiter's moon Europa is a little bit smaller than Earth's moon. Its surface is smooth and bright, consisting of water ice crisscrossed by long, linear fractures. Like our planet, Europa is thought to have an iron core, a rocky mantle and an ocean of salty water beneath its ice crust. 

Unlike Earth, however, this ocean would be deep enough to extend from the moon's surface to the top of its rocky mantle. Being far from the sun, the ocean's surface would be globally frozen over. While evidence for this internal ocean is quite strong, its presence awaits confirmation by a future mission.

The Hubble Space Telescope first caught a glimpse of water vapor jutting off the surface of Jupiter's tiny moon Europa in 2013. But scientists were skeptical, so a team performed follow-up observations throughout next year to see if these jets of water would reappear. Sure enough, Hubble caught three additional cases of, what appear to be jets. It's an exciting find that supports the notion that Europa contains a vast, subsurface ocean that might be the perfect place to discover the first signs of alien life.

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