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Jupiter's moon Europa 'spewing water plumes'

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By Euronews
Jupiter's moon Europa 'spewing water plumes'

NASA says it has further evidence that Jupiter’s moon Europa is expelling large plumes of water into space.

If real, the jets might make it easier to find out if microbial life exists beyond earth.

The discovery was made using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Using Jupiter as a giant torch, astronomers observed Europa in silhouette through ultra-violet light, detecting what appeared to be water plumes.

They are thought to originate from the salty ocean which exists beneath the moon’s icy shell.

NASA scientists say flying through the jets with instrumented spacecraft to try to find life would present a much easier challenge than drilling through Europa’s ice to test the water.

Europa is about 3000 kilometres in diameter, slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, but one of the most active bodies in the solar system.