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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This picture shows many photos of Europa and its surface taken during the Galileo mission. There are many interesting surface features on this moon.
Click on image for full size
NASA

Surface of Europa

Many exciting discoveries were made about Europa during the Galileo mission. The surface of Europa is unusual, even for an icy moon. It appears that the surface is pretty new, rather than being ancient. Instead of craters, there appear to be strange cracks that reach for many kilometers over the surface of the moon. Closeup images of the surface suggest that there might be an ocean under the icy surface.

The surface of Europa also shows a form of volcanism found on Earth as well as on icy moons called icy-volcanism. Other features include changes in the icy crust common to places where volcanism is found. The surface also shows evidence of new molecules that form because of radiation in the environment!

All this evidence for geologic activity points to a heat source in the interior of Europa.
Last modified September 18, 2003 by Roberta Johnson.

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