200-Kilometer-High Jets of Water Discovered Shooting From Europa

‘…Data from the Hubble space telescope suggests that enormous jets of water more than 200 kilometers tall (roughly twice as high as Earth’s atmosphere) may be spurting intermittently from the moon’s surface.

The frozen body Europa is known to have a vast liquid water ocean beneath its cold crust, a potential home for life. Should these newly observed water plumes be tapping into some Europan sea, they could be bringing material to the surface that would otherwise stay hidden. Follow-up observations from Earth or with probes around Europa could sample the fountains, hunting for organic material and perhaps finding evidence of living organisms beyond Earth.

The findings, presented today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, await independent confirmation. But if the jets are real, the frozen world would join the tiny number of others known to have active jets, including Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Neptune’s moon Triton.’ (Wired Science).