We might think that our planet is soaked, but compared to other places in the solar system, it’s quite dry!
Looking at the size of the moons or planets in our solar system and the amount of liquid according to the size, Earth isn’t even in the top three.
According to the planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Steve Vance, Earth’s oceans are not that big.
Europa, Pluto – Close Enough
Steve Vance has focused on researching about words that have oceans. He estimated the ice thickness and depth of the ocean in the solar system to get a result and find how much water there is on each celestial body. The image above shows the approximate volume of liquid water on nine worlds that have oceans.
Looking at Europa, Jupiter’s moon, which is smaller than our moon, we see a lot of water. The Voyager was sent 20 years ago to gather data on Europa, and it showed that it has twice more water than Earth.
Pluto also has an ocean as big as the one on Earth.
The image sent from NASA measures water in zettalitres (ZL), which is equal to 1 billion cubic kilometers or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 litres.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth has almost 1.335 ZL of water.
The top of worlds with the most liquid to the least is: Ganymede, Titan, Callisto, Europa, Earth, Pluto, Dione, Triton, Enceladus.
Ganymede is the wettest world in the solar system because 69% of its total volume is liquid water. Scientists believe that even the largest asteroid in the solar system – Ceres and one of Saturn’s moons – Mimas could have oceans. However, scientists haven’t yet found how big the oceans are or if they really exist. With more missions in space, they will soon find out.
Future Missions to Find More About Europa and Jupiter’s Icy Moons
The next mission NASA plans is to Europa to gather a more detailed mapping of its ice. The mission is called Europa Clipper, and it will be launched in 2022 – 2025.
The European Space Agency also plans to launch a mission in 2022 towards Jupiter. They expect to reach the planet in 2030 in the mission called Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer.
Hopefully, one of these robots to fly to these worlds would find out more about them. Will they also discover signs of alien life? You never know!
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.