The team overseen by A Southwest Research Institute utilized the Hubble Space Telescope to identify Jupiter’s moon, Europa, at ultraviolet wavelengths, filling in a “gap” in the wavelengths used to observe this icy water world. The team’s near-global UV charts exhibit concentrations of sulfur dioxide on Europa’s trailing side.

SwRI will improve these studies utilizing the Europa Ultraviolet Spectrograph (Europa-UVS), which will identify Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon through NASA’s Europa Clipper, planned to launch in 2024. Scientists are practically sure that hidden underneath Europa’s icy surface is a saltwater ocean comprising nearly twice as much water as compared to Earth’s oceans. This moon might be the most favorable place in our solar system, adequate for some form of life beyond Earth.

“Europa’s relatively young surface is primarily composed of water ice, although other materials have been detected across its surface,” announced Dr. Tracy Becker, lead author of a paper describing these UV observations. “Determining whether these other materials are native to Europa is important for understanding Europa’s formation and subsequent evolution.”

“In addition to studying the sulfur dioxide on the surface, we are continuing to try to understand the puzzle of why Europa—which has a surface that is known to be dominated by water ice—does not look like water ice at ultraviolet wavelengths, as confirmed by this paper,” Becker said. “We are actively working to understand why.”

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.

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