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Europa has an icy surface, but is there an ocean underneath?
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Courtesy of NASA

Oceans on Europa?
News story originally written on August 26, 2000

A new study has evidence that Jupiter's moon Europa is full of salt water. Previous studies have indicated that the surface of Europa is ice. Scientists were wondering what was underneath this ice. With the help of the Galileo spacecraft, we may finally have the answer.

It all started when Galileo found a magnetic pole on Europa. NASA sent the spacecraft back for another look, and data shows that the pole moves every few hours. Scientists say this movement is most likely caused by salt water.

Scientists are hoping the Europa orbiter can finally prove their theory when starts its journey in 2003. Until then, we will still speculate that water exists on this cold moon. If water does exist, then there is a good chance that life is there as well.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA