Europa is one of the moons of Jupiter, and has been studied by astroniomers and experts for a long time because it has many peculiarities, one of which could support a possible life of organisms. But a new study says Europa could glow in the dark thanks to luminescence.
The author of the study published in Nature Astronom said: "We were able to predict that this nocturnal ice glow could provide further information on the composition of Europa's surface. The way this composition varies could give us clues that Europa is the prime candidate for hosting life."
The next mission that aims to study the Jupiter satellite is Europa Clipper, which will observe the surface of the moon in more flyovers. The mission scientists are examining the authors' findings to assess whether or not the glow in question is detectable by the spacecraft's scientific instruments.
The launch of the probe will take place by 2025, and there may be plenty of time to mount a few more detectors and give us more spectacular evidence of this more unique than rare luminescence.
A moon of Jupiter could be luminescent
According to some researchers of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory they discovered this fact through some experiments obtained with the technique of astronomical spectroscopy.
The icy Galilean satellite orbits the gas giant Jupiter and, while performing its waltz, must also withstand an incredible dose of radiation. Jupiter in fact captures and redirects many charged particles and hits the surface of Europa relentlessly, literally immersing it in a sea of radiation.
Radiation affects various materials present on the satellite's surface such as magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride salts, which are also very common here on Earth. Together with molecules of water and ice, if hit with a good dose of charged particles, the electrons of these salts become excited, that is, they rise to a higher energy state.
And when it is time to release energy and return to its original state, the release of energy occurs in the form of light radiation, giving rise to the phenomenon of luminescence. If we imagine the process on a global scale then here we get a bright planet in all respects.
The different salt compounds react differently to radiation and emit their own unique glow. To the naked eye, this luminescence could appear on green hues, or slightly blue and with varying degrees of brightness, depending on the material trapped in the ice layers.