Scientists have uncovered an fantastic secret satellites of Jupiter

Jupiter Moon Europa's Jagged Ice Towers Could Imperil Robot Landers

Jupiter's icy ocean-harboring moon Europa as seen by NASA's Galileo spacecraft. Credit NASA JPL-Caltech SETI Institute

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.

Kate Middleton Rewears Gorgeous Lilac Dress From Last Year
The Duke and Duchess had a chance to speak to young delegates at the summit about the challenges and issues they face. Kate and Will chose a mental health summit as their first royal engagement after the Duchess' maternity leave .

'2.2m Nepalis suffer from mental health disorder' - Capital
"Since children can not express their mental problems, it remains unidentified and affects them more as they grow older". There are not enough specialised hospitals or specialised psychiatric hospital beds for children and adolescents.

MI man's doorstop is $100,000 meteorite
A farmer who'd used a 23-pound rock as a doorstop since 1988 has learned that it's actually a meteorite worth $100,000 (£76,000). As the new owner of the property, the man was told that the rock was a part of the property and that he could have it.

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.

Latest News