Jupiter is circled by a bewitching duo of moons that are potentially capable of nurturing delicate tidbits of life as we know it. Like its more famous sister-moon, Europa, Ganymede might harbor a life-loving subsurface ocean of liquid water in contact with a rocky seafloor. This special arrangement would make possible a bubbling cauldron of fascinating chemical reactions--and these reactions could potentially include the same kind that allowed life to evolve on our own planet!
HST's detection of a site, which appears to show persistent, intermittent plume activity on Europa, provides a promising target for the Europa mission to investigate. Equipped with its new and sophisticated suite of science instruments, the mission can detect whatever may potentially be swimming around in the hidden global ocean sloshing around beneath its secretive crust of ice.
"There's an assumption we do have to make, which is that there's no changes in the material itself, and that all of the bumps we're seeing (in the gravity field) are from changes in the porosity and the amount of air between the rocks," Dr. Soderblom continued to explain in the September 10, 2015 MIT Press Release.