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 - certainly one 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 mostly of water ice.
More lately, theoretical versions of the jovian process and Europa have urged that tidal heating could have led to the life of liquid water, and maybe an ocean, underneath Europa's floor. NASA's ongoing Galileo project has profoundly multiplied our realizing of Europa and the dynamics of the jovian method, and should let us constrain theoretical types of Europa's subsurface structure.
Meanwhile, because the time of the Voyagers, there was a revolution in our realizing of the boundaries of lifestyles on the earth. existence has been detected thriving in environments formerly regarded as untenable - round hydrothermal vent platforms at the seafloor, deep underground in basaltic rocks, and inside polar ice. in other places within the sunlight approach, together with on Europa, environments regarded as suitable with existence as we all know it on the earth are actually thought of attainable, or maybe possible. Spacecraft missions are being deliberate that could be able to proving their existence.
Against this heritage, the gap reviews Board charged its Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) to accomplish a accomplished learn to evaluate present wisdom approximately Europa, define a method for destiny spacecraft missions to Europa, and determine possibilities for complementary Earth-based stories of Europa. (See the preface for an entire assertion of the charge.)
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Extra resources for A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa
Europa’s Ionosphere The presence of a tenuous neutral gas surrounding Europa leads naturally to an ionospheric plasma. The ionization sources are collisional ionization and photoionization. The energetic magnetospheric plasma that sputters the surface materials to form the neutral atmosphere also is able to ionize the gases once they are in the atmosphere. While energetic ions are probably the dominant sputtering agent, it is the energetic electron population incident upon O2 that can lead to the formation of plasma.
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. 52. G. , “Europa and Callisto: Induced or Intrinsic Fields in a Periodically Varying Plasma Environment,” Journal of Geophysical Research, submitted 1998. 53. R. Woese, “Bacterial Evolution,” Microbiology Review 51: 221, 1987. 54.
7 Of course, the actual performance may be better or worse depending on the true temperature and chemical composition of the icy shell. CHARACTERIZATION OF DEEP INTERIOR STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICAL PROCESSES Measurements of the topography, gravity field, and magnetic field of Europa will aid efforts to characterize Europa’s deep internal structure and dynamics. It is important to determine if Europa has a magnetic field, which will indicate whether convection and dynamo action are occurring in a liquid part of Europa’s core.
A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa 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