Europa is the fourth-biggest moon that’s orbiting the gas giant Jupiter. It seems that the moon is hiding a salty, liquid ocean underneath its icy shell.
This means that it might harbor the necessary ingredients for life. A brand new study has revealed that Europa’s surface is filled with sodium chloride or table salt.
Europa’s hidden ocean is similar to the ones on Earth
This also concludes that the hidden ocean that’s underneath the Europa’s ice may be more similar to the oceans that are on our planet, at least definitely more similar than it has previously been believed.
The study shows in a first the way in which the yellow patches on Europa’s surface actually hint at the presence of sodium chloride.
There’s something even more mind-blowing involved. The salt seems to have been there hidden in plain view for years now, and experts didn’t look at it.
“Sodium chloride is a bit like invisible ink on Europa’s surface,” NASA’s Kevin Hand stated in a press release.
He continued and explained that “Before irradiation, you can’t tell it’s there, but after irradiation, the color jumps right out at you.”
How was the discovery made?
In order to make this discovery, experts have irradiated plain table salt in a lab that simulated the conditions that are present on Jupiter’s moon.
They discovered that this white salt was turning into a yellowish shade which, you guessed it right – was the very same shade of yellow that’s been spotted by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on its imaging missions between 1995 and 2003.
In order to make the confirmation, experts turned the Hubble Space Telescope to Europa, and the telescope was able to confirm that the yellows on the surface “were giving off a chemical signal that represented the irradiated table salt.”
I have been blogging and posting articles for over eight years, but my passion for writing dates back in 2000. I am especially enthusiastic about technology, science, and health-related issues. When I’m not researching and writing the latest news, I’m either watching sci-fi and horror movies or checking out places worth visiting and building deep memories for later in life. I believe in empathy and continually improving myself.