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Venting Activity On Europa May Be Potential Sign Of Life

First Posted: Apr 17, 2017 05:37 AM EDT

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recently detected another venting activity on Jupiter's moon, Europa. While it is unclear what is causing such activity, reports seem to point that it could be a sign of alien life forms.

The Hubble telescope first observed water vapor above Europa's southern region in 2013 -- a curiosity for scientists. After nearly four years of observation, new movements were seen, leading astronomers to believe in the possibility of life forms present on Jupiter's moon.

However, Phys.org noted that the venting activity spotted by the Hubble on Europa has been very elusive for astronomers. What was expected to be a crust of ice enclosed on Europa's interior has been active and was the reason for discharging the plumes. The plumes were seen exploding 62 miles above the moon's surface.

This was said to be proof of a natural phenomenon present in the area. More importantly, the plume spotted by the telescope recently was in the same location as the activity detected a few years ago. This convinced scientists that a warm spot may have given circumstantial proof of oceans on Europa -- and with oceans are the possibility of life forms.

Baltimore astronomers who were studying Europa believed that the liquid plume spotted may be a sign of life-supporting chemical energy. This comes after earlier results showed that the plumes were actually composed of 98 percent water, leading them to believe that they are closer to finding life outside the Earth.

Still, as Scientific American pointed out, the plume's source may actually be a "chaos region" of cracked ice. Britney Schmidt at Georgia Tech University suggested that the plume is linked to shallow reservoirs of liquid water that is thought to develop in the crust between Europa's surface and its interior ocean. For now, scientists are working on ways to look into the mystery of Europa's plumes.

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