On earth, 71% of the surface is covered in water. Of that an incredible 96.5% is contained in the ocean, making most of the water on earth rich in minerals and salt! Up until now it was believed that the earth held the largest ocean in the world but recently it was found that there’s a larger ocean. But it went largely unnoticed, until now.
NASA’s hubble space telescope revealed something major back in 2016, but it was overlooked by many. The telescope revealed the best evidence to date for an underground saltwater ocean in Ganymede, which is Jupiter’s largest moon.
This is larger than Mercury but not much smaller than Mars. Identifying water in a liquid state is important in the search for habitable worlds beyond earth and the search for life as we know it. Here contains the Gaymede ocean, which is the largest moon of Jupiter and the solar system in all. This is believed to contain more water than Europa’s shares Olivier Witasse, who is a project scientist that works at the European Space Agency (ESA) within the future Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE). It is believe that six times more water is in Ganymede’s ocean than in our earth’s ocean, along with three times more water than Europa.
John Grunsfeld shares “This discovery marks a significant milestone, highlighting what only hubble can accomplish” Now, a retired assistant administrator of NASA’s science mission directorate at NASA’s headquarters. “In its 25 years in orbit, hubble has made scientific discovers in our own solar system. One discovery was the deep ocean under the crust of Ganymede actually opens up more possibilities for life beyond earth.
What’s interesting about Ganymede is that its the largest moon in our solar system and the only moon that has it’s own magnetic field, or so NASA says. It seems like the earth’s moon has a magnetic field also, which has an affect on the tides as well as actual human emotion. Did you know that whenever there is a full moon, crime rates are higher? I think there’s a magnetic field here, but NASA won’t reveal that to us it seems.
Back to the magnetic field of the moon no Jupiter. This magnetic field causes an aura of ribbons that are glowing. This has heated electrified gas which includes regions that circle both the north and south pole of the moon. Ganymede is close to Jupiter so that it’s part of Jupiter’s magnetic field. This means that when Jupiter’s magnetic field shifts, the auroras within Ganymede also shift at the same time causing a rocking back and forth of the lights.
Just like with Saturn’s moon, it is overshadowed perennially by Enceladus and Titan. Ganymede’s fame has been eclipsed by its sister ocean world, Europa, which has been slated for flybys at times by NASA’s Europa Clipper mission in 2020.
Ganymede’s auroral activity cycle on the surface and this has been detected by the hubble space telescope. This reveals oscillations with the moon’s magnetic field. This was best explained by the internal heat-generation tidal that was sloshing ocean water from hundreds of kilometers below the surface.
JUICE will fly by these moons at incredible speeds between 1000 and 2000 kilometers. They will orbit Ganymede for nine months. With the last four months at an altitude of approximately 500 KM. The oceans of Jupiter’s moons are likely to be buried at a depth deep below their icy crusts, radar can and will be able to help put together clues as to their complex evolution over time.
One example is that it will explore Europa’s regions which are potentially active and actually be able to distinguish where the composition of these things change. This can measure if there are localized, shallow reservoirs of water that has been crunched between icy layers. It can then find deflected subsurfaced layers which can then create an opportunity to assess the history of the tectonic plates in Ganymede.
To see the distinction between both ice ad non-ice materials is also possible. This can even potentially enable the detection of different cyrovolcanic reservoirs. In Callisto, radar profiling can help to better understand and see the evolution of large impact craters, and structures that are quite apparent on the purpose of things. These generally display multiple rims as well as a central dome I the middle. Their nature does help to provide specific clues that landed o the subsurface at the time the impact occurred.
Being able to see into the subsurface of these moons with different radar technology will be kind of like looking back in time, which will help us to hopefully truly determine the geological evolution of these enigmatic worlds Witasse shares. NASA reports that on the way they will make several flybys of another potentially ocean bearing jovian moon, Callisto. “We think that Callisto also harbors a subsurface ocean, but the available data is unclear,” Witasse shares. “What we hope to do is to check whether terhe is an ocean or not – And if yes, at which depth.”