0 In Astronomy

A Different Type of Blood Moon


Color images of Jupiter’s Moon Europa (as seen above) look like props from a Horror Film. This picture is provided by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a compilation of photographs from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. In case you forgot, the Galileo spacecraft was sent back in 1989 to photograph Jupiter and its moons. Although it deorbited in 2003 (8 years after it arrived to Jupiter), the information sent from Galileo still continues to be studied to aid our understanding. Europa is great example of information still unfolding; NASA shed new light on this moon and its scars as recently as 2013.

Astronomers have determined these creepy blood streaks are actually cracks in Europa’s icy surface. The color is from the minerals that are just reaching the surface. Astronomers predict that the minerals include salt from a subsurface ocean. The interaction between the ice crust and the salty water can provide chemical energy to sustain simple life forms. This makes Europa one of the leading candidates in the solar system for finding suitable life.

Now I hope you can rest easy knowing that what makes Europa seem scary is actually what makes it great.

Photo byΒ NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

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