Water in the solar system: How much Earth has versus Europa and Pluto

Earth seems drenched with water from mountaintop to ocean bottom. But our home planet is a desert compared to some places the solar system, both in terms of its total water volume and the amount of liquid on Earth relative to its size.

 

Consider Jupiter’s ice-encrusted moon Europa, which is smaller than Earth’s moon. Scientists recently used 20-year-old Voyager data to find even more evidence that Europa has twice as much water as our planet. Even tiny Pluto may have an ocean nearly as large as Earth’s.

 

Steve Vance, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has kept a close eye on research about ocean worlds over the years. He has rounded up estimates of ice thickness and ocean depth throughout the solar system to calculate roughly how much water may exist.

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