Dark Substance on the Surface of Jupiter’s Moon Is Identified As Sea Salt
If you don’t know, Mars isn’t the only thing astronomers have spent decades researching on. For over a decade, some scientists were looking into a mysterious dark substance on the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
After years of work, researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab believe they have finally figured out what the substance is. According to them, it’s nothing but sea salt!
They also believe it is from the ocean that is hiding somewhere under Europa’s surface.
The team led by scientist Kevin Hand used a machine that recreated similar extreme conditions that are found on Europa. The spectra of these materials was then compared to the one collected by spacecrafts and telescopes, according to Hand.
Researcher Curt Niebur, who is Outer Planets Program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said:
We have many questions about Europa, the most important and most difficult to answer being is there life? Research like this is important because it focuses on questions we can definitively answer, like whether or not Europa is inhabitable. Once we have those answers, we can tackle the bigger question about life in the ocean beneath Europa’s ice shell.
The research team subjected table salt to -280 degrees Fahrenheit and brutal radiation. After a few hours, this normal salt started to turn dark and the longer it was left under radiation, the darker it got.
After they examined the samples, they immediately noticed the resemblance it had with the data collected by Galileo spacecraft.
You can read more about it over at the NASA’s official press release.