Ganymede, one of the several moons of Jupiter showed evidence of water vapor in its atmosphere. Astronomers discovered this while observing through their Hubble Space Telescope. The astronomers observed water vapors escaping from Ganymede, Jupiter’s moon.
Ganymede for many decades has been a very cool moon. Its crust is completely covered with ice and scientists do believe that beneath 100 miles or 161 m from the surface there might be an ocean that has the capacity to host aquatic life.
This observation was made taking into account the observation made by the Hubble Space Telescope in the last two decades. Due to this observation astronomers confirmed the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere of Ganymede.
It is confirmed by scientists that the water vapor isn’t coming from the ocean 100 miles beneath the surface but is from the icy crust on the surface. These findings arrived quite earlier than the ESAs upcoming mission named JUICE which literally means Jupiter ICy moons Explorer. This mission is expected to launch in 2022 and reach Jupiter by 2029. And would spend a total of three years researching and examining Ganymede and the other two largest moons.
Whatever evidence the astronomers find today and in the future can help better optimize the spacecraft and focus on areas worth researching and knowing.
Alien life on this moon still hasn’t been confirmed yet and even scientists don’t point out the fact that alien life could be present on Jupiter’s moon. This evidence of water vapor has opened many gateways and brainstorming ideas for scientists. Earlier it was found that Ganymede contained oxygen.
Hubble in 1998 captured ultraviolet images of Ganymede and at that time scientists interpreted that the moon contained oxygen.
But later due to advanced research this ultraviolet aurora that the images showed, perfectly correlated to the fact that the Ganymede’s surface would often warm up which led to the production of water molecules. Lorenz Roth was behind this research.
Lorenz Roth says that scientists till now have only observed the presence of molecular oxygen on Jupiter’s moon. She was the one who led the team at NASA and found the presence of water vapor on Jupiter’s moon.
She worked for the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.
The molecular oxygen according to her is produced only when the charged particles on the moon erode the icy surface of the moon. All the details of the research and the findings were published in Nature Astronomy which publishes research, reviews, and commentary of the highest quality in all areas of astronomy, astrophysics, planetary sciences.
Ganymede is the largest and most massive moon in the Solar System. Its diameter of 5,268 km is 0.41 times that of Earth. It belongs to the Galilean Group. This moon contains a thin layer of oxygen but it is very thin to support any habitual life.
Research conducted earlier indicated that Ganymede contained more water than all our oceans combined.
NASA’s in 2016 launched a mission to learn and study more about Jupiter and its largest moon Ganymede and what environment they have. This is often referred to as the Jovian system, a composite of the Jovian system that includes the edge of Jupiter with its Great Red Spot, and Jupiter’s four largest moons, known as the Galilean satellites.
Understanding this system can provide us with a further understanding of how these gas giant planets and their celestial moons form and develop over the years.