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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 - one in every 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 through NASA's Voyager and Galileo spacecraft and from Earth-based telescopes indicating that Europa's floor is kind of younger, with little or no proof of cratering, and made largely of water ice.

More lately, theoretical versions of the jovian procedure and Europa have advised that tidal heating could have ended in the lifestyles of liquid water, and maybe an ocean, underneath Europa's floor. NASA's ongoing Galileo undertaking has profoundly elevated our figuring out of Europa and the dynamics of the jovian process, 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 considered untenable - round hydrothermal vent structures at the seafloor, deep underground in basaltic rocks, and inside of polar ice. somewhere else within the sun approach, together with on Europa, environments considered suitable with existence as we all know it on the earth at the moment are thought of attainable, or perhaps possible. Spacecraft missions are being deliberate which may be able to proving their existence.

Against this heritage, the gap experiences Board charged its Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) to accomplish a accomplished examine to evaluate present wisdom approximately Europa, define a method for destiny spacecraft missions to Europa, and determine possibilities for complementary Earth-based experiences of Europa. (See the preface for a whole assertion of the charge.)

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Additional info for A Science Strategy for the Exploration of Europa

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C. Edwards, “Radar Detectability of a Subsurface Ocean on Europa,” Icarus 134: 292, 1998. STRATEGY FOR THE POST-GALILEO EXPLORATION OF EUROPA 35 A magnetometer and a plasma detector on a spacecraft orbiting Europa would provide global data on the charged-particle populations and magnetic field over long periods of time and be able to distinguish a permanent intrinsic field from time-varying plasma and induction fields. New, lightweight plasma detectors, such as the Plasma Experiment for Planetary Exploration (PEPE) instrument now operating on Deep Space 1, are able to make good measurements while placing fewer demands on spacecraft mass or power resources than past instruments.

E. Geissler, “Formation of Cycloidal Features on Europa,” Science 285: 1899, 1999. 12. R. , “Episodic Plate Separation and Fracture Infill on the Surface of Europa,” Nature 391: 371, 1998. 13. B. T. B. McCord, “Galilean Satellites: Identification of Water Frost,” Science 178: 1087, 1972. 14. N. P. J. A. S. , University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1986. 15. W. N. H. R. 2 to 5 Microns: A Compilation, New Observations, and a Recent Summary,” Journal of Geophysical Research 100: 19041, 1995.

28 Two-layer models of Europa with an ice outer shell and a uniform silicate/metal inner region are possible, but only if the interior density is greater than about 3800 kg m–3. 29 Therefore, Europa must have a three-layer structure with an Fe or Fe-FeS core at its center, a rock mantle surrounding the metallic core, and a water-ice or liquid-water shell around the rock. The size of the core is between 40 and 50% of Europa’s radius, depending on its composition. , liquid or solid) of either Europa’s metallic core or its outer water shell.

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