NASA discovers massive saltwater oceans on Jupiter’s moon

NASA discovers massive saltwater oceans on Jupiter’s moon

Question - Water holds evidence of the capacity of a planet to sustain life. Discuss the recent discovery of massive saltwater oceans on Jupiter’s moon by NASA.

• NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has just unearthed evidence of a major saltwater ocean located under the ice filled crust of the largest moon of Jupiter namely Ganymede that can support life.

• Subterranean ocean is associated with more water than all of Earth’s surface, according to the researchers

• Identification of liquid water is imperative in a search for life beyond earth

• This is a major milestone as far as discoveries are concerned for NASA as well as the Hubble Space Telescope

• Specifically, a deep ocean under Ganymede’s icy crust has opened up interesting possibilities for life beyond our planet.

Method of Discovery

• Ganymede is the largest moon in the Milky Way

• It is the only moon with its own magnetic field

• This magnetic field is responsible for the creation of an aurorae which comprises ribbons of glowing, electrified gas in regions towards the north and south pole of the moon

• As Ganymede is close to the planet of Jupiter, it is embedded in the magnetic field of Jupiter.

• When the magnetic field of Jupiter changes, there is a corresponding change in the aurorae of Ganymede

• Through observation of the rocking motion of these aurorae, scientists have been able to ascertain that a massive amount of saltwater exists below the crust of Ganymede impacting its magnetic field

• The team of scientists making this discovery were headed by Joachim Saur of University of Cologne in Germany

• As aurorae are controlled via magnetic fields, this can point to more data regarding the interior of the moon

• Another evidence that this ocean is present comes from a magnetic friction that is created by the magnetic field of Jupiter

• This friction suppresses the rocking of the aurorae bringing it down to 2 instead of 6 degrees

About the Saltwater Ocean

• Scientists have made the estimation that the ocean is 100 kilometres thick which is 10 times deeper than the oceans in earth

• This ocean is buried under the crust mostly made of ice which is 150 kilometres

Facts and Stats

• Scientists first suspected the ocean in Ganymede in the 1970s based on models of massive moons

• NASA’s Galileo measured the magnetic field in the year 2002, providing the first evidence in support of this contention that ocean of saltwater existed under the crust of Ganymede

• Fresh observations were done under ultraviolet light and accomplished with space telescope located high above the atmosphere of the earth, obstructing most of the ultraviolet light

• NASA/National Aeronautics and Space Administration is a US government science and space agency which monitors the civilian space projects and aeronautics alongside aerospace research

• NASA was established by President Dwight.D. Eisenhower

• The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on 29th July, 1958

• It follows the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics/NACA

• NASA became operational with effect from October 1st, 1958

• Many US space explorations have been led by NASA

• This includes the Apollo Mission, Skylab space station and Space Shuttle

• NASA is providing support for the International Space Station

• It is also overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle

• It is involved in the supervision of the Commercial Crew vehicles as well

• It has also managed the Launch Services Program/LSP for management of unmanned NASA launches.
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