This 2017 photo captured by JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft shows Jupiter's southern equatorial region. (Photo Credit: NASA Official Site)
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, has surprised the scientist with a stunning discovery. For the first time, researchers have found the credible proofs about the presence of water on Jupiter. After the three-decade- old heartbreak of mission Galileo, NASA has finally found some joyous news. Launched in 2011, NASA’s Juno mission has now finally answered the great question – How much water is there on Jupiter? According to NASA, “Juno results estimate that at the equator, water makes up about 0.25 per cent of the molecules in Jupiter's atmosphere — almost three times that of the Sun.”
"Just when we think we have things figured out, Jupiter reminds us how much we still have to learn," Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton was quoted as saying by NASA. "Juno's surprise discovery that the atmosphere was not well mixed even well below the cloud tops is a puzzle that we are still trying to figure out. No one would have guessed that water might be so variable across the planet," Bolton added. According to NASA, the researchers used the data collected during eight flybys to find put the quantity of water on Jupiter. "We found the water in the equator to be greater than what the Galileo probe measured," Juno scientist Cheng Li was quoted as saying by NASA. "Because the equatorial region is very unique at Jupiter, we need to compare these results with how much water is in other regions," the researcher at University of California, Berkeley added.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
Last year in November, NASA scientists had detected water vapour for the first time above the surface of Europa, a finding that supports the idea of a liquid water ocean sloshing beneath the miles-thick ice shell of the Jupiter's moon. The study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, measured the vapour by peering at Europa through WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii, US. Missions to the outer solar system had amassed enough information about Europa to make it a high-priority target of investigation in NASA's search for life. What made this moon so alluring was the possibility that it may possess all of the ingredients necessary for life, had said researchers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in the US.
(with agency inputs)