NASA may just have discovered signs of life in space, in the form of water on Europa.
Earlier this week, NASA reported that astronomers using the Hubble telescope may have spotted water vapor plumes erupting on the surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
Europa is a similar size to Earth’s moon, and is thought to be second most promising places to look for life in our solar system, besides Earth itself.
The reported plumes are thought to rise about 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Europa’s surface, before raining the material back down.
Europa has an enormous ocean containing twice as much water as Earth’s oceans, but it’s located under a layer of hard ice of unknown thickness. The ocean on Europa is thought to be one of the most likely places in the solar system that could sustain life. Scientists hope that the plumes will allow them to gather water samples of the water without drilling through the ice.
NASA says it hopes the infrared version of its new James Webb Space Telescope, which is expected to launch in 2018, will confirm the presence of water plumes on Europa.