Water Vapor Detected In Europa’s Atmosphere

  • Released Thursday, October 14, 2021

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observations of Jupiter's icy moon Europa have revealed the presence of persistent water vapor — but, mysteriously, only in one hemisphere.

Europa harbors a vast ocean underneath its icy surface, which might offer conditions hospitable for life. This result advances astronomers' understanding of the atmospheric structure of icy moons, and helps lay the groundwork for planned science missions to the Jovian system to, in part, explore whether an environment half-a-billion miles from the Sun could support life.

For more information, visit https://nasa.gov/hubble.

Additional Credits:
Artist’s Impressions of a Water Atmosphere on Europa: ESA/Hubble, J. da Silva

Galileo Spacecraft’s Image of Europa: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Music Credits:
"Maps of Deception" by Idriss-El-Mehdi Bennani [SACEM], Olivier Louis Perrot [SACEM], and Philippe Andre Vandenhende [SACEM] via Sound Pocket Music [PRS] and Universal Production Music.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, please credit individual items as indicated above.

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, October 14, 2021.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:43 PM EDT.


This visualization is related to the following missions: