Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

April 9, 1997
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Oceans Under Jupiter's Europa?
Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Is there life beneath Europa? Today, new results are being announced (at about 2 pm EST) about the possibility of oceans under Jupiter's moon Europa. The existence of such oceans increases the likelihood that some sort of life exists beneath the fractured ice planes of Jupiter's smoothest satellite. Results from the February 20th flyby of the robot spacecraft Galileo past Europa now clearly indicate that either large bodies of water or slush exist under a relatively thin ice sheet covering the moon's surface, at least in some regions. Areas on the surface are marked by very few craters, indicating that water flowed there in the time since most craters formed.

Tomorrow's picture: Europa's Ice Rafts

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.