Evidence of Water Vapor at Ganymede

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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Video imagery:
  • Cassini mission image of Jupiter and Ganymede: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
  • Galileo mission color-enhanced image of Ganymede: NASA/JPL/DLR
  • Voyager 1 mission image of Ganymede: NASA/JPL

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Brandon Lawton
Education review: Jim Manning
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Squares of images of celestial bodies move up. A white line moves down and another across.
Text, News from the Universe.
An image of Jupiter with a small moon below and to the right. Text, August 5, 2021, Evidence of water vapor at Ganymede
For the first time, astronomers have uncovered evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon Ganymede. An arrow points to Ganymede.
Text, The study looked at new and archival data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, going back as far as 1998.
There has long been evidence that Ganymede holds more water than all of Earth's oceans, including a thick crust of ice. An image of Ganymede with areas of blue, green and white, with dark and white marks.
Text, Now, astronomers say that when warmed by the Sun, ice near the moon's equator is released as water vapor.
The image of Ganymede fades and an image of its surface and horizon appears.
Text, Upcoming missions like the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) will continue the investigation of our solar system's other water worlds.
This news was brought to you in part by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.