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What a new research about Jupiter’s moon Europa means

Published: 2nd May, 2022

Context

A new study found that on one of Jupiter’s moons Europa, a prime candidate for life in the solar system, there might be an abundance of water pockets beneath formations called double ridges.

About

About Europa

  • Size: Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon and its diameter is about one-quarter that of the Earth.
  • Atmosphere: Even though Europa has a very thin oxygen atmosphere, it is considered one of the most promising places in the solar system to find present-day environments that are suitable for life beyond the Earth.
  • Water: It is also believed that underneath Europa’s icy surface the amount of water is twice that on Earth.
    • NASA notes that scientists believe Europa’s ice shell is 15-25 km thick and is floating on an ocean, which is estimated to be between 60-150 km deep.
    • Interestingly, while its diameter is less than the Earth’s, Europa probably contains twice the amount of the water in all of the Earth’s oceans.

NASA’s Europa Clipper

  • NASA is expected to launch its Europa Clipper in 2024.
    • The module will orbit Jupiter and conduct multiple close flybys to Europa to gather data on the moon’s atmosphere, surface and its interior.

Double ridge Feature:

  • Double ridge is the most common type of ridge on Europa: the term “ridge” usually refers to double ridge.
  • A ridge pair with a continuous, V-shaped medial trough whose depth is less than the height of the ridges.
  • They are 100s m wide on average, though in some cases are up to less than 5 km across.
  • Double ridges are the most ubiquitous morphology on Europa and run almost linearly with generally uniform morphological characteristics for up to more than 1,000 km.

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