Stunning Gif Shows Just How Much Water Is on Europa
Europa has long been theorized to have a vast liquid ocean beneath its icy surface, and now a hypnotizing gif demonstrates just how much water the little moon holds, according to scientists' best estimates.
The gif, made by Youtube channel Five Hours Ahead, compares the amount of water projected to lie beneath Europa's icy shell with the amount of water on Earth's surface. Earth is a watery planet, and, as seen above, it's many times larger than Europa. And yet, if both planets were drained of water to form their own personal waterworlds, Europa's would be 1090 miles in diameter, approximately 28% larger than Earth's. This is the result of the subsurface ocean's incredible depth; researchers estimate that it may be 100 miles deep, which is 16 times deeper than the deepest place on Earth.
Of course, we don't know for certain that this subsurface ocean really exists. However, astrobiologists are confident enough in its existence to place Europa as the top priority in the search for extraterrestrial life. Hopefully, we'll find out just how much water lies underneath the icy shell when NASA sends a probe to Europa.