Huge amounts of water on Europa

europa waterby Kevin Hand (JPL/Caltech),  Jack Cook (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Howard Perlman (USGS)

Europa Erupts! Possible Geyser of Water Seen on Jupiter’s Moon
[Via Bad Astronomy]

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have seen evidence of a massive geyser of water erupting from the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. This plume of water extends as high as 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) above the surface.

Wow!

This is pretty amazing news. We’ve known for a while that Europa has liquid water under its surface, but this is the first direct evidence of it. Not only that, it changes how we think the water and surface interact. It’s hard to say whether this makes it more likely that there are little Europan fishies swimming around down there, but it does mean it’ll be easier to take a look.

(Note: The observations here strongly indicate this geyser exists—it’s the best explanation for what’s seen—but like everything in science, we can’t be 100 percent sure. However, this observation looks pretty good to me. To make it easier to write and understand, from here on out I’ll assume the geyser is real, but bear in mind there is some small uncertainty about it.)

[More]

This is really cool to see. A lot of water. We have thought there might be more water on Europa than exists on the Earth. (Click on the image above for some more.)

Yes, more water than on Earth. Now we have more confirmation of the existence of water there.

I’d rather see more work done getting here than getting to Mars. Ion engines might get us there in 3 years. And some fusion engines might get humans there in less than 4 months.

Besides, this is where the  Monolith is located.