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Formation and Stability of Radiation Products in Europa's Icy ShellSpectra of Europa reveal a surface dominated by water-ice along with hydrated materials and minor amounts of SO2, CO2, and H2O2. Jovian magnetospheric ions (protons, sulfur, and oxygen) and electrons produce significant chemical modifications of the surface on time scales of a few years at micrometer depths. Our laboratory studies examine the formation and stability of radiation products in H2O-rich ices relevant to Europa. Infrared (IR) spectra of ices before and after irradiation reveal the radiation destruction of molecules and the formation of products at 86 - 132 K. In addition, spectra of ices during warming track thermal evolution due to chemical changes and sublimation processes. IR-identified radiation products in 86 - 132 K irradiated H2O + SO2 ices are the bisulfate ion, HSO4(-), sulfate ion, SO4(2-) and the hydronium ion, H3O(+). Warming results in the formation of a residual spectrum similar to liquid sulfuric acid, H2SO4, for H2O:SO2 ratios of 30:1, whereas hydrated sulfuric acid, H2SO4 4 H2O, forms for ratios of 30:1. Radiation products identified for irradiated H2O + H2S ices at 86 K are H2S2 and SO2. When irradiated at 110 and 132 K, ices with H2O:H2S ratios if either 3:1 or 30:1 show the formation of H2SO4 4 H2O on warming to 175 K. We have also examined the radiation stability of H2SO4. Addition of CO2 to H2O + SO2 ices results in the formation of CO3 at 2046 cm (sup -1) (4.89 m). This is the strongest band from a carbon-containing product in the mid-IR spectral region, and it is also seen when either pure CO2 or H2O + CO2 ice is irradiated. Experiments with CH4 added to H2O + SO2 + CO2 ices addressed the question of methane's use as a marker of methanogens in an irradiated ice environment. New results on the near-IR spectrum of pure H2O2 will be included in this presentation. Interpretations of near-IR water bands, with H2O2 present, will be discussed. Irradiations of H2O2 and H2O + H2O2 mixtures, to examine the possibility of O2 and O3 formation, are currently under investigation and new results will be discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Moore, M. H. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Hudson, R. L. (Eckerd Coll. Saint Petersburg, FL, United States)
Carlson, R. W. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Ferrante, R. F. (Naval Academy Annapolis, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Workshop on Europa's Icy Shell: Past, Present, and Future
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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