Advertisements

Europa’s Icy Crust May Be Warmer Than We Thought

Chaos terrain on Europa suggests subsurface lakes. (NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk)

Galileo image of Europa’s cracked crust (NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk)

All the worlds may be ours except Europa but that only makes the ice-covered moon of Jupiter all the more intriguing. Beneath Europa’s thin crust of ice lies a tantalizing global ocean of liquid water somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 kilometers deep—which adds up to more liquid water than is on the entire surface of the Earth. Liquid water plus a heat source(s) to keep it liquid plus the organic compounds necessary for life and…well, you know where the thought process naturally goes from there.

And now it turns out Europa may have even more of a heat source than we thought. Yes, a big component of Europa’s water-liquefying warmth comes from tidal stresses enacted by the massive gravity of Jupiter as well as from the other large Galilean moons. But exactly how much heat is created within the moon’s icy crust as it flexes has so far only been loosely estimated. Now, researchers from Brown University in Providence, RI and Columbia University in New York City have modeled how friction creates heat within ice under stress, and the results were surprising.

Read the rest of this article on Universe Today here.

Advertisements

About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on April 16, 2016, in Moons and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Do hope that in the near future we come up with some safe way to investigated this ocean. Imagine an entire eco system down there! Not star wars, but still, wow.

    Like

Have an opinion about this? Leave a comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: