Europa (moon)

Europa (moon)

Europa i/jʊˈroʊpə/ (Jupiter II), is the sixth closest moon of the planet Jupiter, and the smallest of its four Galilean satellites, but still one of the largest moons in the Solar System. Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei and possibly independently by Simon Marius around the same time. Progressively more in-depth observation of Europa has occurred over the centuries by Earth-bound telescopes, and by space probe flybys starting in the 1970s.

Slightly smaller than Earth's Moon, Europa is primarily made of silicate rock and probably has an iron core. It has a tenuous atmosphere composed primarily of oxygen. Its surface is composed of water ice and is one of the smoothest in the Solar System. This surface is striated by cracks and streaks, while cratering is relatively infrequent. The apparent youth and smoothness of the surface have led to the hypothesis that a water ocean exists beneath it, which could conceivably serve as an abode for extraterrestrial life. This hypothesis proposes that heat energy from tidal flexing causes the ocean to remain liquid and drives geological activity similar to plate tectonics.

The Galileo mission, launched in 1989, provided the bulk of current data on Europa. Although only fly-by missions have visited the moon, the intriguing characteristics of Europa have led to several ambitious exploration proposals. The next mission to Europa is the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE), due to launch in 2022.

Read more about Europa (moon):  Discovery and Naming, Orbit and Rotation, Physical Characteristics, Potential For Extraterrestrial Life, Exploration, Future Missions

Other articles related to "europa, moon":

Terraforming - Prospective Planets - Europa (moon)
... Main article Terraforming of EuropaSee also Colonization of EuropaEuropa, a moonof Jupiter, is a potential candidate for terraforming ... One advantage to Europais the presence of liquid water which could be extremely helpful for the introduction of any form of life ... The difficulties are numerous Europais near a huge radiation belt around Jupiter ...
Europa (moon) - Future Missions - Old Proposals
... In the early 2000s, Jupiter EuropaOrbiter led by NASA and the Jupiter Ganymede Orbiter led by the ESA were proposed together as an Outer Planet Flagship Mission to ... Russia expressed interest in sending EuropaLander as part of the international effort ... Jovian EuropaOrbiter was an ESA Cosmic Vision concept study from 2007 ...

Famous quotes containing the word europa:

    I care not what the sailors say:
    All those dreadful thunder-stones,
    All that storm that blots the day
    Can but show that Heaven yawns;
    Great Europa played the fool
    That changed a lover for a bull.
    William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)