Mission to Jupiter – level 3
The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer has blasted off on an eight-year voyage from a spaceport in French Guiana.
The European Space Agency’s mission to Jupiter will survey three moons that might have once hosted life. Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede are frigid, ice-covered Jovian satellites three-quarters of a billion kilometers from the sun; however, they have vast liquid water oceans beneath their icy surfaces. If hydrothermal vents that are found on ocean floors all over Earth exist there, they may provide enough warmth for life to thrive in the darkness.
The mission intends to uncover the secrets of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, its enormous polar auroras, and how its mighty magnetic field shapes conditions on the gas giant’s nearby moons. The discovery of sub-surface saltwater oceans on Jupiter’s moons has pushed them high up the list of solar system venues to explore for signs of life and habitability.
Difficult words: frigid (very cold), hydrothermal vent (an opening in the sea floor out of which heated mineral-rich water flows), habitability (a quality of being good enough to live in).
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What chances are there of finding evidence of life on Europa, Callisto and Ganymede?
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