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 a possible path in the evolution of the interior of icy moons. As the moons drew material
from the nebula
around them, bits of heavy, solid material accumulated inside the forming moon, as illustrated in figure A.
Once the moon finished forming, these heavy, solid bits of material fell into the center, as illustrated in figure B. Eventually, the heavy, solid material 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 material, shown in purple in figure B, to frozen ices of various phases, as shown in figure C.
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:
As shown in this picture, while they were forming in the solar nebula, the nucleii of the moons-to-be (called protomoon) drew material to themselves from the cloud of gas and dust around them. ...more
If the satellite has means of warming itself, then the interior may go through many startling changes as the moon evolves. The moon may change its size, and grow or shrink as the layers inside go through...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
Most of the moons and planets formed by accretion of rocky material and volatiles out of the primitive solar nebula and soon thereafter they differentiated. Measurements by the Galileo spacecraft have...more
Many examples of the differing types of terrain 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
The surface of Callisto is deeply pockmarked with craters. It looks to be perhaps the most severely cratered body in the solar system. There are also very large craters to be found there. The severity...more