A mystery, 23 years older, about the largest moon in the entire solar system has now been solved.In the year 1998, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope had captured Jupiter’s moon Ganymede in ultraviolet light. The images exposed a mysterious pattern of streaks tinted across the Jovian moon, known as auroral bands that are similar to those observed on Earth.
But something in the data did not tally up together. Ganymede’s aurora specified the existence of oxygen on the large moon, but scientists have suspected that if there would be that much oxygen in its atmosphere, then the Earth.New information originated from Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and respective archival images from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) from the years 1998 to 2010 has found a culprit behind this secretive phenomenon. This culprit is that – Ganymede releases water vapor from its icy surface.
The recent findings have been explained in detail in a study published on Monday in the journal called Nature Astronomy and provide the scientists with all the precious insights on other icy moons in the Solar System that may crowd water and the possibility of life.
Ganymede is not only Jupiter’s largest moon; it is also the largest across the total Solar System, even larger than the planet Mercury.Previous evidence had suggested that Ganymede contains more water than all of the Earth’s oceans altogether. But the moon’s water body is expected to be buried hundreds of miles underneath its surface since its freezing temperatures would cause any amount of water on its surface to be frozen solid.