Europa Ice Rafts

About This Picture

This is a picture of a part of Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Europa is covered with ice; the lines covering the surface are largely cracks in the ice, caused by meteorite impacts and flexing of the ice caused by internal activity.

Europa is particularly interesting because analysis of the images sent back by the Galileo space probe, like the one above, suggest that under the icy top layer there may be liquid water. Since as far as we know, liquid water is required for life to develop, this is an important fact, if true.

To be a little more specific, the picture above seems to show that the surface is made of many individual chunks, or 'rafts' of ice, which are oriented in many different directions, and can tip up or down. This bevavior suggests they can move around a bit, and that there is a soft layer below them.

Related Courses

PtyS 106 is the course that talks the most about Europa.

PtyS 403, PtyS 407, and PtyS 411 also partly deal with Europa.

More Information

Some other places you can find information on Europa include:

The Nine Planets: Europa
The Nine Planets is a tour of the solar system, created and maintained by SEDS, the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Views Of The Solar System: Europa
Views Of The Solar System is a collection of images and facts created and maintained by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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