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geology of europaEuropa is a rocky object of radius 1565 km (slightly smaller than Earth s moon) and has an outer shell of water composition estimated to be of order 100 km thick, the surface of which is frozen. The total volume of water is about 3 x 10(exp 9) cubic kilometers, or twice the amount of water on Earth. Moreover, like its neighbor Io, Europa experiences internal heating generated from tidal flexing during its eccentric orbit around Jupiter. This raises the possibility that some of the water beneath the icy crust is liquid. The proportion of rock to ice, the generation of internal heat, and the possibility of liquid water make Europa unique in the Solar System. In this chapter, we outline the sources of data available for Europa (with a focus on the Galileo mission), review previous and on-going research on its surface geology, discuss the astrobiological potential of Europa, and consider plans for future exploration.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Greeley, R.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)
Chyba, C.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)
Head, J. W.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)
McCord, T.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)
McKinnon, W. B.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)
Pappalardo, R. T.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Jupiter: The Planet, Satellites and Magnetosphere
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.