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Friday, 11 June 2010

image for Hubble Telescope Spots Giant Plume on Jupiter's Moon
"Be careful where you're pointing that thing!"

HOUSTON, Texas - NASA scientists were awestruck when the Hubble Space Telescope caught sight of the largest known eruption of hydrocarbons in the entire solar system today.

"I couldn't believe the size of that thing," said Buzz Armstrong, an astronaut in Houston who trained Hubble's eye on the unexpected eruption this afternoon at approximately 1 p.m. "It literally filled up the computer monitor."

He said calculations indicate the plume is likely 5 miles wide, 20 miles long, and is believed to be emanating from a source more than 1,000 meters beneath the orbiting celestial body.

"It's an infusion of hydrocarbons and methane gas unlike anything else we've ever seen anywhere," he said.

Though the geyser and its surrounding plume may have created "dead zone" conditions, Armstrong believes that doesn't rule out the possibility that some primitive forms of life could survive in harsh conditions just like these.

Until the sighting, plumes created by intelligent life forms had only been observed by non-NASA based communications satellites, Armstrong explained.

That's when he said he felt a sharp smack upside his head.

"You can see that on the news when you get home," said his supervisor, calmly and slowly enunciating every syllable as the crowd gathered around Armstrong's desk dispersed. "Look, we're all concerned about the Gulf of Mexico, but how many times do I have to tell you? The Hubble Space Telescope is not for personal use.

"Now, point that thing where you're supposed to before I cuff you again!" he shouted.

Armstrong quickly typed in the correct coordinates, repositioning Hubble to examine a natural volcanic plume exploding above the horizon of Jupiter's moon, Io.

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