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Water Plumes spotted on Jupiter's Moon Europa


The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa's ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.
•    The plumes are estimated to rise about 200 kilometres before raining material back down onto Europa's surface.
•    Europa has a huge global ocean containing twice as much water as Earth's oceans, but it is protected by a layer of extremely cold and hard ice of unknown thickness.
•    The plumes provide a tantalizing opportunity to gather samples originating from under the surface without having to land or drill through the ice, Nasa said.
•    The team, led by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in the US, observed these finger-like projections while viewing Europa's limb as the moon passed in front of Jupiter.
•    The original goal of the team's observing proposal was to determine whether Europa has a thin, extended atmosphere or exosphere.

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