WFIT

Planet Water

Aug 14, 2017

Space Minute PSA Series #11: Planet Water

We often take water for granted here on Earth, but finding evidence of it on other planets is a big deal.

It helps us understand how our solar system was formed billions of years ago. But more intriguing to many, the presence of water means a so-called Goldilocks zone where the temperature was not too hot or too cold for liquid water to exist.

Already NASA spacecraft have found strong evidence of surface water. The Curiosity Mars rover discovered an ancient streambed that existed with conditions favorable for life.

There are several worlds thought to possess liquid water beneath their surfaces, and many more that have water in the form of ice or vapor. 

Late last year, a new discovery using spectrographic images from the Hubble Space Telescope got folks excited: possible water plumes erupting on Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

This seems to be further confirmation of previous Hubble observations suggesting that the icy moon erupts to high-altitude – as in 125-miles high – water vapor plumes.

Captain Winston Scott is a retired U.S. Navy fighter pilot and astronaut who flew on two space shuttle missions and walked in space three times. He’s now an administrator and faculty member at the Florida Institute of Technology. More information on Space Minutes at wfit.org.