PerspectivePlanetary Science

Glimpsing Eruptions on Europa

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Science  10 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6167, pp. 148-149
DOI: 10.1126/science.1248879

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Second-closest to Jupiter (after Io) of the four large Galilean satellites, icy Europa is one of the strangest objects in the solar system (1). On page 171 of this issue, Roth et al. (2) present strong evidence for ongoing eruptions of plumes of water vapor from Europa's surface. This is a potentially major discovery, making Europa only the fourth object in the solar system known to exhibit ongoing internally powered geological activity, after Earth, Europa's volcanic neighbor moon Io, and Saturn's icy moon Enceladus.