One of the best spots to look for life, NASA is slated to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa in the next 10 years. A new study, however, notes the water plumes that are erupting from the celestial satellite could shed new light on cryovolcanic eruptions across icy bodies throughout the solar system.
The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, notes the plumes could actually be coming from Europa’s crust instead of its ocean.
“Understanding where these water plumes are coming from is very important for knowing whether future Europa explorers could have a chance to actually detect life from space without probing Europa’s ocean,” said the study’s lead author Gregor Steinbrügge in a statement.
The researchers used images collected by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft to come up with their theory.
Europa’s ocean is under a dense layer of frozen crust that is largely believed to be at least six and as many as 19 miles thick. The surface temperature on the moon is exceptionally cold