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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 is a drawing of the evolution of the interior of an icy moon.
Click on image for full size
Image from: The New Solar System

How the Interior of Icy Moons Formed

The drawing shows how the inside of an icy moon comes together. As the moons drew material from the nebula around them, bits of heavy rock gathered inside the forming moon, as illustrated in figure A.

Once the moon finished forming, these heavy, solid bits of rock fell into the center, as illustrated in figure B. Eventually, the rock at the center solidified into a core, as illustrated in figure C.

The ice on the outside of the core gradually changed from warm, slushy ice, shown in purple in figure B, to completely frozen ice, as shown in figure C.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF