Pictures support theory of water on Europa
March 2, 1998
High-resolution image of Europa's ridged plains
Web posted at: 1:29 p.m. EST (1829 GMT)
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (CNN) -- Newly released images of
Jupiter's moon Europa -- the most detailed ever taken -- show
more evidence that there is slush, and perhaps even water,
beneath Europa's icy surface. The presence of water would
increase the odds that life may have existed at some point in
The Europa pictures, from NASA's Galileo's spacecraft, were
released at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and
on the Internet site of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
They were taken by the Galileo spacecraft during a December
16, 1997, fly-by and received on Earth in late February.
The new pictures include high-resolution views of rough,
broadly scalloped icy cliffs on Europa as high as Mount
Other images show an impact crater named Pwyll and the
so-called Conamara Chaos region, where icy plates on the
surface have broken apart and moved around.
Computer-generated model with a topographical
perspective view of the Pwyll impact crater
One large, icy fracture is big enough to be spanned by the
Galileo, which was launched in 1989 and arrived at Jupiter in
1995, is making a two-year tour of its four major moons:
Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede.
The Galileo mission is due to continue through December 1999.