By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration
Since its discovery in 1610, Europa - one in every of Jupiter's 4 huge moons - has been an item of curiosity to astronomers and planetary scientists. a lot of this curiosity stems from observations made by way of NASA's Voyager and Galileo spacecraft and from Earth-based telescopes indicating that Europa's floor is sort of younger, with little or no facts of cratering, and made largely of water ice.
More lately, theoretical versions of the jovian method and Europa have steered that tidal heating could have led to the lifestyles of liquid water, and maybe an ocean, underneath Europa's floor. NASA's ongoing Galileo project has profoundly extended our figuring out of Europa and the dynamics of the jovian procedure, and will let us constrain theoretical types of Europa's subsurface structure.
Meanwhile, because the time of the Voyagers, there was a revolution in our knowing of the bounds of lifestyles in the world. existence has been detected thriving in environments formerly considered untenable - round hydrothermal vent platforms at the seafloor, deep underground in basaltic rocks, and inside polar ice. in different places within the sunlight process, together with on Europa, environments considered suitable with existence as we all know it in the world at the moment are thought of attainable, or maybe possible. Spacecraft missions are being deliberate which may be in a position to proving their existence.
Against this historical past, the gap reviews Board charged its Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) to accomplish a finished learn to evaluate present wisdom approximately Europa, define a method for destiny spacecraft missions to Europa, and establish possibilities for complementary Earth-based reviews of Europa. (See the preface for an entire assertion of the charge.)
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Additional info for A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa
48. K. , “Induced Magnetic Fields as Evidence for Subsurface Oceans in Europa and Callisto,” Nature 395: 777, 1998. 49. G. , “Europa and Callisto: Induced or Intrinsic Fields in a Periodically Varying Plasma Environment,” Journal of Geophysical Research, submitted 1998. 50. K. , “Induced Magnetic Fields as Evidence for Subsurface Oceans in Europa and Callisto,” Nature 395: 777, 1998. 51. G. , “Europa and Callisto: Induced or Intrinsic Fields in a Periodically Varying Plasma Environment,” Journal of Geophysical Research, submitted 1998.
26, 1999 200 km 467,000 km 300 km 6m 10 km 6m ~ 10 km ~500 km ~ 20 km GEM Tour Summary Body Orbit Name Date Altitude Europa Europa Europa Europa Europa Europa Europa Europa Callisto Callisto Callisto Callisto Io Io E-12 E-13 E-14 E-15 E-16 E-17 E-18 E-19 C-20 C-21 C-22 C-23 I-24 I-25 Dec. 16, 1997 Feb. 10, 1998 Mar. 29, 1998 May 31, 1998 July 21, 1998 Sept. 26, 1998 Nov. 22, 1998 Feb. 1, 1999 May 5, 1999 June 30, 1999 Aug. 14, 1999 Sept. 16, 1999 Oct. 11, 1999 Nov. 26, 1999 200 km 3562 km 1649 km 2521 km 1837 km 3582 km 2281 km 1495 km 1311 km 1047 km 2296 km 1057 km 612 km 300 km Smaller-scale surface features, such as the arcuate lineaments known as cycloidal features, provide additional reason to believe that the surface-ice shell is relatively thin.
12 Surface Composition Knowledge of the composition of Europa’s visible surface comes primarily from ultraviolet, visible, and nearinfrared reflectance spectra. These have been obtained by ground-based telescopes, the International Ultraviolet Explorer, and the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit around Earth, the Voyager flyby spacecraft, and, most recently, the Galileo spacecraft as it orbits Jupiter. 16 The surface of the leading hemisphere of Europa is brighter than that of the trailing hemisphere, presumably because the trailing hemisphere receives more impacts by charged particles from the jovian magnetosphere than does the leading side.