Never-Before-Seen Photo of Europa Shows Rivers of Red Ice

Illustration for article titled Never-Before-Seen Photo of Europa Shows Rivers of Red Ice

The folks at JPL just published a new image of the surface of Europa – Jupiter's watery, chaotic, eruptive, and potentially life-harboring satellite. The photograph illustrates the contrast between the moon's relatively pure water ice (blue-white terrain) and its saltier, and thereby ruddier, surface ice.


According to JPL, the image area measures approximately 101 by 103 miles (163 km by 167 km), and is composited from photographs captured by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late nineties. Originally published in monochrome, this colorized version gives us additional insight into Europa's weird geology;

The reddish material is associated with the broad band in the center of the image, as well as some of the narrower bands, ridges, and disrupted chaos-type features. It is possible that these surface features may have communicated with a global subsurface ocean layer during or after their formation.



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You're not foolin' me, JPL.