Planets and Moons  ID: 12385

Space Fountains

Europa is one of Jupiter’s largest moons and is covered in a layer of ice that’s miles thick. Beneath this frozen shell lies a hidden ocean thought to contain more water than found on Earth. But there’s more to this moon than what’s going on below the surface. In 2012, scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope first observed what appear to be towering columns of water vapor rising from Europa's icy exterior. Now, recent images taken by Hubble provide further evidence of their existence. On three separate occasions in 2014, Hubble spotted what could be 125-mile-high plumes of water vapor gushing from the Jovian moon. Future observations by Hubble and other NASA missions may provide clues as to how often the plumes occur and why they erupt. Watch the video to learn more.

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Story Credits

Greg Bacon (STScI/Aura)

Video Editor:
Katrina Jackson (USRA)

Lead Producer:
Katrina Jackson (USRA)

Lead Writer:
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Cover image courtesy of NASA/ESA/STScI/G. Bacon
2014 Hubble image courtesy of NASA/ESA/W. Sparks
2012 Hubble image courtesy of NASA/ESA/L. Roth
Europa interior image courtesy of NASA/JPL
Europa surface image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

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