Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, has aurora, like earth, and the aurora on Ganymede dance and wobble unexpectedly, unless one factors in under-surface water, ocean water, water with salt and minerals to give it characteristics that affect electro-magnetic characteristics; thus making the variations in the aurora different than can be explained by the atmosphere and Jupiter’s magnetic field alone.
So, is there liquid water there? Let’s assume probably at this point and wait for more evidence. Will we find life there? If there is liquid water, I expect we will find organic systems that we will have to acknowledge as living.
There is speculation of water and life on Saturn moons as well.
“Two of the latest discoveries come from scientists working with the Cassini spacecraft, a joint project of the European and US space agencies, which has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004. One team found evidence of “hydrothermal activity” within the icy Saturnian moon Enceladus, reporting in the journal Nature that hot springs were active on its ocean floor.
“This finding is backed up by another research group using different Cassini instruments to study methane emerging from Enceladus. These eruptions of hydrocarbon gas may originate from interactions involving microbes on the moon’s ocean floor, according to a paper in Geophysical Research Letters.”
From: Planetary Science: Is there life in Jupiter and Saturn’s lunar oceans?
Here is a YouTube:
Worth the time. Good basic explanation. Its home is here:
She mentions a link for downloading the mentioned software, but I don’t find it at YouTube or their site. But, Google makes things easy. http://www.topcoder.com/asteroids/asteroiddatahunter/
“if you have access to a telescope and can take photos of the sky, you can upload these photos as long as they are in .FITS format.” .FITS is new to me. Google to the rescue again. It is open, which is why, I assume, they specify it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FITS I’m surprised I never heard of it. Astronomers have been using it since I was in high school, however many decades ago that was.
Anyway, it looks like a great format, and I think the astronomers must have been pretty bullheaded to get such a useful and readable format back when computer geeks abbreviated everything to two and three letters.
This article is about the same as the other NASA ones, but has a nice graphic of the expected Ganymede structure: http://earthsky.org/space/underground-ocean-on-jupiters-largest-moon
Here is another:
Perhaps there will be more detail forthcoming. In the meantime, it is looking unreasonable to suppose our earth is the only place with liquid water.
From NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center – NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth’s surface.
In this artist’s concept, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on the moon generated by Ganymede’s magnetic fields. A saline ocean under the moon’s icy crust best explains shifting in the auroral belts measured by Hubble. Credit NASA/ESA
Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search of life as we know it.
“This discovery marks a significant milestone, highlighting what only Hubble can accomplish,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “In its 25 years in orbit, Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our…
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