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Scientists from Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have detected sodium chloride or better to say table salt compound on Jupiter’s Europa moon. NASA explains a familiar ingredient which is known on Earth as table salt has been discovered on Europa moon which has the yellow color that is visible on portions of the surface of moon (actually sodium chloride, the principal component of sea salt).
In the below image, you may see the yellowish area to the left of center that is Tara Regio. This region of geologic chaos is the area where scientists identified an abundance of sodium chloride or table salt compound.
The finding suggests that the salty subsurface ocean of Europa may chemically resemble Earth’s oceans even more than previously thought. The study was published by Science Advances on June 12.
“People have traditionally assumed that all of the interesting spectroscopy is in the infrared on planetary surfaces, because that’s where most of the molecules that scientists are looking for have their fundamental features,” said Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy at Caltech and coauthor of the Science Advances paper.
“No one has taken visible-wavelength spectra of Europa before that had this sort of spatial and spectral resolution. The Galileo spacecraft didn’t have a visible spectrometer. It just had a near-infrared spectrometer, and in the near-infrared, chlorides are featureless,” said Caltech graduate student Samantha Trumbo, lead author of the paper.
In Brown’s opinion researchers might be seeing sodium chlorides, but they are essentially featureless in an infrared spectrum.
“Sodium chloride is a bit like invisible ink on Europa’s surface. Before irradiation you can’t tell it’s there, but after irradiation the color jumps right out at you,” said JPL scientist Kevin Hand.
Source; Text; NASA
Image credit; NASA
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