This is a cutaway of the possible interior of an icy moon.
Click on image for full size
Interior of Icy Moons
The diagram to the left shows a cutaway of the possible interior structure of an icy moon. The drawing illustrates what used to be postulated for Jupiter's moon Ganymede.
Icy moons are mostly made of ice, therefore there is probably a small core of some rocky material buried inside, covered with ice.
The diagram shows that there may be an ocean of water beneath the surface crust. If the temperature inside an icy moon is just right, then there might be water inside. Such an environment might prove to be habitable for life. For Jupiter's moon Europa, this scenario may prove to be very important.
The history of an icy moon involves cooling, however. So icy moons which may have had a water layer in the past might be completely frozen now.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
The diagram to the left shows a cutaway of the possible inside structure of Ganymede, based on recent measurements by the Galileo spacecraft. It shows a small core of metal, overlain with some rocky material,...more
Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. They are non-living, solid, and, like all matter, are made of atoms of elements. There are many different types of minerals and each type is made of particular...more
The diagram to the left shows a cutaway of the possible interior structure of Europa. The composition of the icy moons is mostly ice, therefore there is probably a small core of some rocky material buried...more
Amalthea was discovered by E Barnard in 1872. Of the 17 moons it is the 3rd closest to Jupiter, with a standoff distance of 181,300 km. Amalthea is about the size of a county or small state, and is just...more
Callisto was first discovered by Galileo in 1610, making it one of the Galilean Satellites. Of the 60 moons it is the 8th closest to Jupiter, with a standoff distance of 1,070,000 km. It is the 2nd largest...more
The insides of most of the moons and planets separated while they were forming out of the primitive solar nebula. Measurements by the Galileo spacecraft have been shown that Callisto is the same inside...more
Many examples of the differing types of surface are shown in this image. In the foreground is a huge impact crater, which extends for almost an entire hemisphere on the surface. This crater may be compared...more