• Water is the fountainhead of life.
  • That’s why scientists are mighty excited about detecting a water fountain spraying out from Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon, Europa, which is considered one of the prime candidates for life in our solar system.
  • Now, scientists already know that Europa has water; it’s covered in a 25km-thick crust of ice that protects the liquid ocean beneath from the radiation that bathes its atmosphere.
  • This radiation prevents space probes from getting close enough to study Europa’s oceans.
  • But when scientists re-examined data that NASA’s Galileo spacecraft had collected back in 1997, they found that a certain bend that it had seen in Europa’s magnetic field was actually evidence of a leak in the ice crust, through which water was spewed forth into the atmosphere.
  • Now that Europa is offering us free lab samples, we’d be crazy not to go back for seconds.