|Europa is one of Jupiter’s many moons, an icy oceanic world full of wonder. Even as NASA’s Europa Clipper mission nears closer, we have only just begun uncovering the mysteries of this beautiful natural satellite. The most recent and fascinating discovery is that Europa actually glows. Not only does it glow, but each compound of salt and ice on its surface illuminates in varying shades and levels of brightness; some greenish, some more blue, some white, all depending on their material makeup.|
Scientists were surprised and delighted to observe a different spectrum with each ice mixture. Our moon appears to glow at night too, what’s so special about this? you might be thinking. This experiment shows that Europa’s irradiated shine is different from our own moon’s luminous glow – it is not the Sun, but the radiation from Jupiter that seems to be dazzling the frozen surface. There is no “dark side” of this Galilean moon, only a continuous glimmering light.
This discovery, along with the future Clipper mission, will shed light on Europa’s viability and help us deeper understand Europa, Earth, and the potential for life beyond our planet.