Jupiter’s moon Ganymede has a Hidden Saline Ocean, Confirms NASA

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Jupiter’s moon Ganymede has a Hidden Saline Ocean, Confirms NASA

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NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has been working restlessly since its inception to find traces of water in our Solar system and the infinite universe. It has now been found that Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede has been hiding something under its surface that might make it a prime contender for a life harbouring heavenly body.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has made some observations that indicate the existence of an underground saltwater ocean. According to the US government agency, the subterranean ocean might have more water than the total water on the earth. An evidence of water on a heavenly body puts a tick ahead of one requisite component in the list for habitable worlds beyond Earth.


An aurora was spotted by NASA’s Space telescope that indicates the existence of water on the surface of Ganymede (the largest moon in the Solar System, and the only satellite to have a magnetic field of its own). An aurora is formed when charged particles interact with the magnetic field of any heavenly body. It is the glowing ribbons of charged particles that interact with its surrounding atmosphere. On earth these aururae are also known as Northern Lights.

It’s not just the aurorae that pointed out the presence of water on Ganymede, but the change in the behaviour of aurorae that can be caused by the existence of water. It was found that aurorae stayed in a stable position because of a salty, electrically conductive ocean. Had there been no water at its surface, the aurorae would have rocked back and forth. The observations by Hubble were done in UV light.

It is an essentially and important find, but the moon which is about the size of Mars, cannot be considered as an important place for further exploration. It is learnt that the saltwater ocean is around 100 miles deep below the outer crust of ice. Below the saline ocean lies the ice mantle that is then followed by rocky mantle and iron core. With present technologies, it would be impractical to make robots dig 100 miles below the upper crust, which is further separated from Saline Ocean through layers of ice.

Meanwhile, the Hubble project partner ESA (European Space Agency) will continue to conduct science operations. The agency will take a closer look at the other moons of Jupiter Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Europa is also one of the prime candidates for hosting liquid water which is crucial for hosting life. We won’t know for sure about the existence of life on this bodies unless we send a probe there but considering the low investment in the field of space research, it might be a while before we get there. Maybe its about time we cut down on the massive defence spending and use it to further our adventures in space.

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Meenakshi Rawat
iGyaan's newbie Meenakshi handles content at iGyaan. She is an ultimate foodie, loves travelling and likes to read.