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Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Mystery Photo
Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

What In the World Is It?

This month’s mystery photo is . . . well, another world! Which one? Did you guess Jupiter’s Europa? That’s right, this "scratched" terrain belongs to Jupiter’s otherwise smooth-skinned ice world. The big question astronomers have been asking themselves lately is, "Is there life beneath the surface of Europa?" New data from the robot spacecraft Galileo have given them reason to suspect the possibility of oceans under the moon’s surface. It appears that either large bodies of water or slush exist under a relatively thin ice sheet covering the moon’s surface, at least in some regions. Areas on the surface are marked by very few craters, indicating that water flowed there in the time since most craters formed. The existence of such oceans increases the likelihood that some sort of life exists beneath the fractured ice planes of Jupiter’s smoothest satellite.

Credit: (Jonathan Kern)


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