PIA01503: Europa's Fractured Surface

Europa’s Fractured Surface


This image of Europa, smallest of Jupiter's four Galilean satellites, was acquired by Voyager 2 on July 9, 1979, from a (150,600 miles). Europa, the brightest range of 241,000 kilometers of the Galilean satellites, has a density slightly less than Io, suggesting it has a substantial quantity of water. Scientists previously speculated that the water must have cooled from the interior and formed a mantle of ice perhaps 100 kilometers thick. The complex patterns on its surface suggest that the icy surface was fractured, and that the cracks filled with dark material from below. Very few impact craters are visible on the surface, suggesting that active processes on the surface are still modifying Europa. The tectonic pattern seen on its surface differs drastically from the fault systems seen on Ganymede where pieces of the crust have moved relative to each other. On Europa, the crust evidently fractures but the pieces remain in roughly their original position.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Europa Ganymede, Io, Jupiter
System Jupiter
Target Type Satellite Planet
Mission Voyager
Instrument Host Voyager 2
Host Type Flyby Spacecraft
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Water
Acquisition Date
Release Date 1999-02-08
Date in Caption 1979-07-09
Image Credit NASA/JPL
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA01503
Identifier PIA01503