It’s not just the stars that shine in space. Some satellites have this capability too. But they only do it in the dark, like certain children’s toys. One example is one of Jupiter’s moons as it has now been discovered. The Europe satellite glows in the dark.
Testing in the laboratory
Europe is one of Jupiter’s most enigmatic natural satellites. It can glow in the dark. This is demonstrated through a series of laboratory experiments. The type of ice that completely covers the surface of the Jupiter moon glows when bombarded with radiation. The finding has just been published in Nature Astronomy. It could help determine the composition of your frozen layers. And even the vast oceans under the ice cover.
Jupiter’s strong magnetic field accelerates charged particles. Every square centimeter of Europe is constantly bombarded by millions of high-energy electrons.
Murthy Gudipati of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory decided to look into it. They did an experiment. In their laboratory they fired electrons at enriched ice samples. They used the same type of molecules that can be found in Europe.
What they found surprised them. When electrons hit the ice, they break its molecules. And so its atoms absorbed energy, which they then emitted again in the form of light. This created a mysterious green glow. The phenomenon was more or less brilliant depending on the type of molecule bombed.
Travel to Europe
“Let’s imagine we are standing in Europe and looking at the glow beneath our feet,” explains Gudipati. The brightness would be similar if you were to look at the ground under the light of a full moon. However, the surface of Europe is a very dangerous environment. A few seconds would be enough to kill a person. “
There are currently no plans to send people to Europe. NASA has already completed the construction of a probe, the Europa Clipper. Your goal is to study this moon as it orbits Jupiter. Your instruments could watch the shiny ice.
“There is evidence that there are oceans of Europe under the ice. And they could be habitable, says Gudipati. And when it does, the minerals and salts in these oceans should be exchanged with the surface. So you need to know the composition of this frozen surface. The Europa satellite glows in the dark, but this light is also a light of hope.
It could help us understand whether or not the subterranean seas of Europe have the necessary ingredients for life.