Why is there irradiated sea salt on the surface of Jupiter’s moon?

The rusty brown lines scrawled across the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, have baffled scientists for decades. However, a recent NASA study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests the lines could be sea salt from a subsurface ocean that has been discolored by radiation.

Europa is popular topic of study because it may give insight into conditions on other icy moons throughout the universe. With its subsurface ocean, it is one of the most likely places in the solar system to be able to support life.

“If it’s just salt from the ocean below, that would be a simple and elegant solution for what the dark, mysterious material is,” said research lead Kevin Hand, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. READ MORE.