Scientists have uncovered an fantastic secret satellites of Jupiter

Jupiter's moon Europa is covered in salty water

Image Jupiter's moon Europa is covered in salty water

These unique formations occur when ice remains in direct sunlight for a period of time, causing patches to transform from a solid into a gas, resulting in "sublimation-sculpted blades", The Verge noted.

In a recent study, researchers reported a new discovery, 50 feet tall "ice spikes" covering parts of the moon's surface.

The shards, called penitentes, are sharp-edged blades, with spikes, that point toward the midday sun.

We have penitentes here on Earth, but they're only found in high-altitude regions near the tropics, such as the Andes, and they range in size from about 1m to 5m.

Colour view of Europa from Galileo that shows the largest portion of the moon's surface at the highest resolution.

Europa however has the flawless conditions necessary for penitentes to form more uniformly - its surface is dominated by ice; it has the thermal conditions needed for ice to sublime without melting; and there is very little variation in the angle in which the sun shines on the surface.

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Jupiter's moon Europa, with its subsurface ocean, may have what it takes to foster alien life. It should also give scientists a much better idea of what the surface looks like, and if it sees a bed of icy spikes, NASA will have to figure out how to deal with them for future missions.

Past studies of Europa's icy shell have envisioned a surface that is smooth at the lander scale, dominated by diffusive impact processes such as impact gardening and sputtering by charged particles in Jupiter's magnetic field.

Excitingly, the Europa Clipper mission may be a forerunner to a landing mission on the Jovian moon, in which a probe would drill through the icy surface and plunge into the dark ocean beneath.

These blades could make it even harder for potential visitors to find signs of life in the moon's subterranean sea, which is seen as the likeliest place in the Solar System to contain extraterrestrial life.

"If there are plumes on Europa, as we now strongly suspect, with the Europa Clipper we will be ready for them", said Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science, at NASA Headquarters.

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