Old data on Jupiter’s moon Europa collected by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft from 1997 was reexamined and placed in advanced computer models to explain a momentary bend in the magnetic field that has been a mystery until today.
Earlier images captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2012 hinted at the presence of plumes emitting from Europa’s surface, and this reexamination has lead researchers to conclude that there is strong evidence that these plumes in fact exist.
The journal Nature Astronomy covers these findings more in depth.
Xianzhe Jia, lead author of the journal article and a University of Michigan space physicist, led the research team. Jia is also collaborating on the Europa Clipper, the mission set to explore the moon and to determine its potential habitability.

Water Vapor Evidence Confirmed on Potential Habitable Europa

Artist rendition of the Galileo spacecraft passing through a plume of water vapor erupting from Europa’s surface. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Michigan