Author Topic: NASA to Hold Media Call on Evidence of Surprising Activity on Europa  (Read 11531 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

OMG?

September 20, 2016
MEDIA ADVISORY M16-111
NASA to Hold Media Call on Evidence of Surprising Activity on Europa

NASA will host a teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 26, to present new findings from images captured by the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa.

Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa. Participants in the teleconference will be:

    Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
    William Sparks, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
    Britney Schmidt, assistant professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
    Jennifer Wiseman, senior Hubble project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

To participate by phone, media must contact Dwayne Brown at 202-358-1726 or dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov and provide their media affiliation no later than noon Monday.

Audio of the teleconference will stream live on NASA’s website at:

http://www.nasa.gov/live

For information about NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

-end-

Offline redliox

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My ears are immediately perked.  Feels like a bonus the same week Elon speaks of his Mars plans we get news about Europa.  Any clues what they may have found?  I can only guess evidence for the plumes has finally resurfaced.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline notsorandom

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I'm guessing they saw more water plumes like the one Hubble saw in Dec 2012.

Online ugordan

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I'm guessing they saw more water plumes like the one Hubble saw in Dec 2012.

I hope so, that would be really big.

Offline Star One

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I'm guessing they saw more water plumes like the one Hubble saw in Dec 2012.

Seems a very logical conclusion.

Would that close the case for their being a subsurface ocean?
« Last Edit: 09/20/2016 09:41 PM by Star One »

Offline as58

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I'm guessing they saw more water plumes like the one Hubble saw in Dec 2012.

I hope so, that would be really big.

Seems very likely. If you search for programs with 'Sparks' as PI or CoI  here, you'll see he has been awarded HST time for transit observations to see ice plumes at Europa.

Edit: These two in particular:

http://www.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/get-proposal-info?id=13829&observatory=HST
http://www.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/get-proposal-info?id=14112&observatory=HST
« Last Edit: 09/20/2016 09:57 PM by as58 »

Offline Star One

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Does Clipper already have proposed instruments suitable to examine any plumes if this is what this announcement is about?
« Last Edit: 09/20/2016 09:49 PM by Star One »

Offline as58

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Does Clipper already have proposed instruments suitable to examine any plumes if this is what this announcement is about?

MASPEX would probably work.

Offline Star One

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Does Clipper already have proposed instruments suitable to examine any plumes if this is what this announcement is about?

MASPEX would probably work.

Thank you.

And down the line we could now have obvious landing target sites for any lander.
« Last Edit: 09/20/2016 10:05 PM by Star One »

Offline Bubbinski

If this truly is ironclad evidence for plumes....I would think that would ensure Europa Clipper gets the support it needs to make it to the launch pad and beyond. Tuning in on Monday!
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Blackstar

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Maybe everybody should count to ten first.

Remember all the hyperventilating before the MAVEN press conference last year? Anybody? Anybody?

Offline vjkane

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Maybe everybody should count to ten first.

Remember all the hyperventilating before the MAVEN press conference last year? Anybody? Anybody?
Given the title of the press conference, it's unlikely that NASA will announce no evidence for plumes.  However, it may again be on the edge of sensor detection like the original observation.

To answer a question by another poster, the Europa multiple flyby orbiter will carry an ultraviolet spectrometer that has the goal, among others, of searching for plumes.  Assuming any are active, there is both a volatile and a dust mass spectrometer that would analyze the composition of any plumes that the spacecraft flys through.  Various remote sensing instruments would characterize the terrain surrounding the origin of the plume(s).

Offline as58

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Maybe everybody should count to ten first.

Remember all the hyperventilating before the MAVEN press conference last year? Anybody? Anybody?
Given the title of the press conference, it's unlikely that NASA will announce no evidence for plumes.  However, it may again be on the edge of sensor detection like the original observation.

To get back to reading tea leaves: Sparks has been awarded time for searching plumes at least four times in last three cycles (http://www.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/get-proposal-info?id=13620&observatory=HST and http://www.stsci.edu/hst/phase2-public/13438.pro in addition to the ones I listed before) for a total of 28 orbits. I doubt that TAC would've given them that much without something to show. In one proposal abstract they even say that they've seen fascinating hints and need confirmation through repeats and improved S/N.

Offline Star One

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This is probably the best article I've seen about this. At least they've contacted somebody in the business so to speak for more educated speculation.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/nasa-europa-hubble-images-announcement-2016-9
« Last Edit: 09/21/2016 06:40 AM by Star One »

Offline shooter6947

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Why the 6 days' advance notice?  That seems longer than necessary.  However I'm not familiar with what a typical time would be to announce the press conference.  Not on a Thursday, so not a _Science_ paper presumably.  ?

Offline Chris Bergin

Have HST friends from STS-125 and they aren't spilling, but yeah, likely ice plumes.

Offline Star One

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Have HST friends from STS-125 and they aren't spilling, but yeah, likely ice plumes.

I imagine this will prove to be another example of what scientists get excited about and what excites the public being somewhat different.

Offline kevin-rf

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Public, Aliens?
NASA, Ice Plumes!
Public, Alien sprinklers for the lawns on Europa?
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline Star One

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NASA just tweeted this no doubt to calm public over excitement.

Quote
NASA – Verified account ‏@NASA

Monday, we’ll announce new findings from Jupiter’s moon Europa. Spoiler alert: NOT aliens:  http://go.nasa.gov/2djp4RG

https://mobile.twitter.com/NASA/status/778605097798537216
« Last Edit: 09/21/2016 03:22 PM by Star One »

Online Alpha_Centauri

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Yes but they would say that wouldn't they...



More seriously; although it is pretty likely to be plume-related, on its own I wouldn't describe that as "surprising".
« Last Edit: 09/21/2016 04:12 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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