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These ocean worlds reveal just how little water we have on Earth

Solar system ocean worlds water volumes earth europa pluto business insider graphics skye gould nasa 4x3Skye Gould/Business InsiderAbout one-tenth of 1% of Earth’s volume is water.

The next time someone asks you where the biggest ocean is, point toward Jupiter.

While Earth harbours about 320 million cubic miles of water, our planet is practically a desert compared to the rest of the solar system.

A moon of Jupiter called Europa, for example, which is roughly the size of our own moon, likely hides a subsurface ocean with more than twice as much water as there is on Earth. Yet even that pales in comparison to Europa’s neighbour Ganymede; more than 39 times as much water as our home planet is thought to reside there, though mostly as ice.

And scientists keep finding more water wherever they look. On September 28, researchers reported that Dione — a small moon of Saturn — probably has a subsurface ocean, too.

To see just how Earth stacks up against other ocean worlds, Business Insider contacted Steve Vance, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who’s calculated how much water might be out there.

The to-scale graphic below uses Vance’s planetary data, plus the United States Geological Survey’s detailed inventory of Earth’s water, to show the plausible volumes of water (both liquid and ice) for the nine verified and suspected ocean worlds so far:

Solar system ocean worlds water volumes earth europa enceladus business insider graphics skye gould nasaSkye Gould/Business Insider

In order of how much water each world has, from the least to the most, the wettest are: Enceladus, Dione, Earth, Europa, Pluto, Triton, Callisto, Titan, and Ganymede.

Mimas, a moon of Saturn, and Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system, might also have subsurface oceans — but scientists aren’t yet sure how big each one might be, if they exist at all.

Correction (10/10/2016): A previous version of this post showed water volumes that were too small due to an incorrect spreadsheet formula. We’ve fixed our graphics, regret the error, and apologise to all the aliens hiding on Europa.

NOW WATCH: NASA has revealed the most compelling evidence yet that Europa may be able to support life

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