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Scientists confirm ocean on Jupiter's largest moon

Scientists confirm ocean on Jupiter's largest moon (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

Rebecca Sapakie, Media General National Desk

(MEDIA GENERAL) – Water equates life which is why scientists spend so much time looking for it. Thursday, Hubble Telescope researchers announced they have confirmed an ocean on Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede.

Heidi Hammel, Exec. Vice Pres. Assoc. of Universities for Research in Astronomy, described that this discovery means we are "one step further to finding that truly habitable environment, water rich environment, in our Solar System."

There had been indications there had been water on Ganymede before. However, the latest data from Hubble confirms that a saltwater ocean is being electrically conducted under Ganymede's surface.

Hubble scientists described Ganymede's make-up this way: It has an iron core, followed by a rocky mantle, ice mantle, saline ocean and the ice crust. Photos taken by Hubble show brown regions that are old and littered with craters on Ganymede. But, lighter shaded regions are thought to be younger and are believed to have been formed by water coming up to the surface on the moon.

Ganymede is no small moon. It is Jupiter's largest making it bigger than Earth's moon and planet Mercury.

Other space planets and moons thought to have water as well including Mars, Jupiter's Europa, and Saturn's moon Enceladus.

Scientists explained that one key goal amongst researchers is to study these icy moons. More research missions and studies are already planned.