What is Europa: Definition and 25 Discussions

Europa (listen), or Jupiter II, is the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, and the sixth-closest to the planet of all the 79 known moons of Jupiter. It is also the sixth-largest moon in the Solar System. Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei and was named after Europa, the Phoenician mother of King Minos of Crete and lover of Zeus (the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter).
Slightly smaller than Earth's Moon, Europa is primarily made of silicate rock and has a water-ice crust and probably an iron–nickel core. It has a very thin atmosphere, composed primarily of oxygen. Its surface is striated by cracks and streaks, but craters are relatively few. In addition to Earth-bound telescope observations, Europa has been examined by a succession of space-probe flybys, the first occurring in the early 1970s.
Europa has the smoothest surface of any known solid object in the Solar System. The apparent youth and smoothness of the surface have led to the hypothesis that a water ocean exists beneath the surface, which could conceivably harbor extraterrestrial life. The predominant model suggests that heat from tidal flexing causes the ocean to remain liquid and drives ice movement similar to plate tectonics, absorbing chemicals from the surface into the ocean below. Sea salt from a subsurface ocean may be coating some geological features on Europa, suggesting that the ocean is interacting with the sea floor. This may be important in determining whether Europa could be habitable. In addition, the Hubble Space Telescope detected water vapor plumes similar to those observed on Saturn's moon Enceladus, which are thought to be caused by erupting cryogeysers. In May 2018, astronomers provided supporting evidence of water plume activity on Europa, based on an updated analysis of data obtained from the Galileo space probe, which orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003. Such plume activity could help researchers in a search for life from the subsurface Europan ocean without having to land on the moon.The Galileo mission, launched in 1989, provides the bulk of current data on Europa. No spacecraft has yet landed on Europa, although there have been several proposed exploration missions. The European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) is a mission to Ganymede that is due to launch in 2022 and will include two flybys of Europa. NASA's planned Europa Clipper should be launched in 2025.

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  1. Strato Incendus

    Writing: Input Wanted Postulating Life on Jupiter's moon Europa

    Even an offhanded remark by some character in a sci-fi story can have major implications. With my story based on a generation ship in the late 25th century, I considered it self-evident that humanity would already have explored most of the planets and moons within the solar system before trying...
  2. G

    B Pressure under the ice of Europa?

    What could be the water pressure under the ice of Europe moon? Could it be toleratable for not super expensive machines, structures?
  3. BillTre

    Under-the-Ice Prototype Rover for Europa

    NASA'a rover prototype floats up to the bottom of the surface ice and rolls around looking at things. It has been tested in Alaska and the Antarctic. This NY Times article has videos of it moving around and of what it sees under the Antarctica ice.
  4. pinball1970

    A second Genesis more likely if life is found on Europa or Enceladus

  5. A

    I Manned mission to Europa: science or still scifi?

    I ask because I feel a mission to Europa as something much more interesting than landing on Mars because of its obvious potential astrobiological implications. And I suspect that drilling through Europa's ice is never going to happen just by sending some sort of robotic drilling rig alone and...
  6. S

    The question: Can nitrogen molecules escape from Europa and into space?

    Homework Statement :[/B] An astronaut visiting Jupiter’s satellite Europa leaves a canister of 1.20 mol of nitrogen gas 28.0 g/mol^2 at 25.0°C on the satellite’s surface. Europa has no significant atmosphere, and the acceleration due to gravity at its surface is 1.30 m/s2. The canister springs a...
  7. R

    I Europa Clipper Interplanetary Mission

    I had not heard about this before. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_Clipper Is it still on?
  8. J

    I Terraforming Mars by using Europa

    Hi, Do you think there is any feasibility at all to terraform Mars be crashing Europa into it? Of course, you have the near impossible task of knocking Europa out of Jupiter's orbit and guiding into Mars without ruining its orbit...but if it worked maybe this would give Mars the extra mass...
  9. L

    B Exploring Europa: Challenges and Possibilities for a Manned Mission

    Would it be possible with our current technology to send a few astronauts to Europa to drill through the ice sheet and search for underwater life?
  10. mfb

    NASA Is There Life on Europa? NASA's Study on the Upcoming Lander Mission

    NASA did a study how to investigate the surface of Europa. It is separate from the Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission, which has a small lander as well, but only with a small budget. Confusingly, the same artist's impressions are used for both. There is also ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer...
  11. W

    NASA Possible Water Plumes Detected on Jupiter's Moon Europa

    for those interested: http://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-s-holding-a-press-conference-about-surprising-activity-on-europa-on-monday Any speculations as to what they will announce? I was thinking plumes like on Enceladus but then I realized they've already been seen on Europa. So my guess it'll be...
  12. Buzz Bloom

    Implications of life being found or not found on Europa

    Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_(moon)#Subsurface_ocean says that "Scientists' consensus is that a layer of liquid water exists beneath Europa's surface, and that heat from tidal flexing allows the subsurface ocean to remain liquid." There have been speculations that Europa might...
  13. AdrianHudson

    How likely is it that Europa has life under its icy surface

    How likely is it that Europa has life under its icy surface IF there is a liquid ocean. Would the ocean on Europa be similar to our oceans? Lastly could Europa have to hydrothermic vents in the oceans like our oceans do or does that require a molten mantle? Thanks for the input :) P.S...
  14. C

    Placing a cargo on a parabolic orbit from europa moon of Jupiter

    Hello, The problem is quite simple.You are an astronautics engineer in an established colony on europa,one of jupiter's moons and your boss asks you what would be the minimum velocity so that a cargo full of wastes or garbage is placed on a parbolic (neglecting the mass of europa versus the...
  15. M

    Atmospheric Density Profiles of Europa and Mars

    Hi all, This is my first post. I am a fourth year undergrad doing a project on astrobiology. in order to do calculations of meteorite impact on the surfaces of europa, enceladus, and mars, i need their atmospheric density profile models. Any idea where i could find those? thanks in...
  16. S

    What will Juice tell us about Europa?

    Now that ESa have selected Juice as its next main mission it seems dissapointing that the main target is Ganymede rather than Europa. I guess this is due to the extra cost of extra radiation shielding for Europa and due to the fact that NASa were supposed to do Europa as part of the original...
  17. G

    Intelligent Life on Europa Speculation

    Europa, one of Jupiter's large moons, is predicted to have a salty ocean beneath its icy surface. This ocean is expected to have more liquid water than the oceans of Earth have. Virtually every place on Earth that we find liquid water we find at least microbial life. Based on this it seems...
  18. L

    Life on Europa vs. Jupiter's Electromagnetic field

    Hello everyone, First to preface I am not a scientist and have the heart of one (I purchased the heart from eBay... jk). Anyway I have a lingering question regarding Europa: Ok, I get the science about the tidal forces on Europa that flexes the rocky portion of Europa heating up the...
  19. A

    Thermal Control System for Europa Mission

    I am designing the thermal control system for my senior design class. We are designing a lander to go to the surface of Jupiter's Icy moon, Europa. I've been researching about thermal blanketing and coatings for the lander, but other than just the materials that it can be made out of, I haven't...
  20. M

    Theorize Possible Colonization on Europa

    I am writing an interactive fiction roleplaying game. It is futuristic... in fact centuries away. We have discovered that the core of Europa is indeed liquified iron, silicon (and sulphur gas?) The oceanic layer is indeed liquid water. Not only that, but it was discovered that a very thin layer...
  21. A

    Exploring Europa: Could it Sustain Life?

    Hello there, new to the forums, but it looked like a good place with knowledgeable folks so I've decided to join! My topic today will be on Jupiters moon Europa. Its just to gauge others ideas on this moon and the chances of it sustaining, or having the potential to sustain life. The...
  22. E

    Distance from low earth orbit to Europa?

    Hey there! I am working on a design project and need to know the distance from low Earth orbit to the orbit of Europa. Does anyone know this or know where I could find it? I know that it will vary based on the position of the Earth and Europa, but I don't really need to know the orbital...
  23. berkeman

    NASA NASA to Miss Europa in 20 Years ?

    Why does this article make me think they may miss another one? :rolleyes: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=3188967&page=1 Of course, in fairness to NASA, it may be a Reuters typo. Let's hope so! :smile:
  24. J

    Life on Europa? Complex or Simple?

    With the protection of the ice sheet(from Jupiter's gama rays), possibly geo-thermal vents on its ocean floor, does anybody think we will find life in the oceans of Europa? If so, complex or simple?
  25. R

    Europa and the possibilty of habitibility

    Hello, I was just thinking about the Ice moon of Jupiter called Europa. Wouldn't it be possible to live on Europa? Even if there isn't an ocean under the surface it would be possible to live there. The reason I say this is because on Mt.Rainier, the north and South Poles, and on another...