Jupiter's Icy Moon

What is Europa?

Among the many moons of Jupiter lies Europa. Europa is believed to be a water planet that is covered by a thick sheet of ice. Although the surface is nearly 215 degrees fahrenheit colder than Earth, what's beneath the 50 mile layer of ice could be a possible home for living things.

Many scientists believe that Europa could be a suitable place for creatures to inhabit. This is because there could possibly be fresh water on Europa. To find out the truth about this mystery planet, scientists have been studying Europa closely for the past ten years. They are creating many technical advancements on machines that might have the power to drill through Europa's icy surface. So far, they have not invented a machine strong enough to do so. Once scientists have the power to drill through the surface, they would send underwater rovers into the unknown sea of Europa.

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Digging Deeper

In 1610, Galileo Galilei discovered what he might have thought was a small planet. After intense research, he realized it was one of Jupiter's moons. He kept a close eye on Europa for many years, and also discovered that Europa had it's own gravitational force and tidal heating. The tidal heating caused the interior of the planet to be warmer than the exterior. This also caused the plates of Europa to shift because the core is being pulled in different directions by Jupiter. Although you may think that this would cause large ridges and craters, it doesn't. In fact, Europa is one of the smoothest known bodies in our solar system.

For many years, scientist at NASA have been requesting for a mission to Europa. This mission would send another space probe to Europa. However, this mission could take approximately 15 years, and it would be extremely expensive.

Galileo is a space probe that is orbiting Europa. Throughout it's journey, it has discovered many things about Europa's surface. First, the moon has very little amounts of craters, ridges, valleys, or pits, indicating that Europa has not been hit by many asteroids or comets. Second, Europa's surface is covered in blue-white terrains and rings. This can indicate some sort of pure water/ice. Third, Europa is also seen with reddish bands. This could be a type of water mixed with hydrated salts, or other elements.

NASA's Search for Life Heading to Jupiter's Moon Europa


McKinnon, William B. "Europa." World Book Student. World Book, 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Rosen, Meghan. "The Ice of a Distant Moon: Piercing Europa's Frigid Shell to Search for Life Below." World Book. 2014. Print.

Online Websites:

“”NASA’s Europa Mission Team Joins Forces for the First Time.” Griecius.Preston Pyches, 10 Aug.2015.Web.13 Aug.2015.

Loff, Sarah. “Reddish Bands on Europa.”.NASA.NASA,28 July,2015.Web.03.Dec.2015.

Pics and Videos.

"NASA's Search for Life Heading to Jupiter's Moon Europa." YouTube. Buzz60, 5 Mar. 2014. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.