Dec 28, 2000

Scientist Suggests Water Exists on Jupiter Moon

A researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, has found magnetic readings of Europa, a moon of the planet Jupiter, to suggest the existence of water on its surface and the possibility of life, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Space physics scientist Margaret G. Kivelson told the paper that evidence from a magnetic field detection device on the Galileo spacecraft provides evidence that Europa has an ocean of liquid water under a thick layer of ice.

"This is not absolute proof that there is a salty ocean there," Kivelson said in the newspaper report. "The evidence is indirect. But nobody has been able to come up with another sensible explanation."

Kivelson took readings of the moon's internal magnetic field when the Galileo spacecraft passed close to Europa last January. The pattern of the field was consistent with the presence of an ocean and suggests water more than four miles deep covering in ice about half a mile to six miles thick, she said.

A NASA spacecraft sent to orbit Europa in the future may give more evidence of water, Kivelson said.

(Source: Chicago Sun-Times)