- NASA Galileo and Voyager missions
Data Set Developer(s)
- NASA, USGS, Bjorn Jonsson
This approximate true color view shows Europa,
the second of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter, visible in small telescopes from Earth. It is roughly as large as Earth's moon
and is in synchronous orbit around Jupiter. There are relatively few craters implying a relatively young surface. The surface has fairly
low relief as well. The surface is mainly composed of water ice with various impurities embedded within.
The mysterious linear features attest to stresses that are largely tidally generated.
These features combined with other clues strongly point to the existence of a global
sub-surface ocean of liquid water that may contain as much
water as Earth's oceans. The water is probably located about 20km beneath the surface and may be up to 100km thick.
The way in which the magnetic field varies around Europa even suggests the presence of electrically conducting
salts in this ocean.
Data Set Use
Looking at a global view of Europa helps us to appreciate what it might look like if we went there
as well as to understand the processes that formed and continue to shape its surface.