Sun  Planets and Moons  ID: 2946

Europa's Synthetic Subsurface Heat Transport (Version 2)

Encounters with Jupiter's moon Europa by the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft indicated that a liquid salty ocean might exist below a layer of surface ice that is up to 10 kilometers thick. An ocean general circulation model developed to study the earth's oceans was used to investigate the tidally-forced ocean circulations on Europa. The orbit of Europa is 'gravity locked' so that the same side of Europa always faces Jupiter as is the case with the earth's moon. The icy surface of Europa heaves up and down 50 meters due to the strong tidal forces. This visualization shows the temperature changes induced from the flow fields calculated for a European ocean 50 kilometers deep. The warmest temperatures tend to be near the equator, not because of heating by the sun, but because the currents in the European ocean move the warmest waters to that location. Understanding the thermal and flow fields from these model runs will help to interpret observations from future missions to Europa such as the Jupiter's Icy Moons Orbiter mission proposed for launch in 2012.

Visualization Credits

Alex Kekesi (GST): Lead Animator
Marte Newcombe (GST): Animator
David Adamec (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Ocean General Circulation Model
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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SVS >> Spacecraft >> Voyager
SVS >> Spacecraft >> Galileo
SVS >> Solar System >> Planets >> Jupiter >> Moons
SVS >> Galilean moons >> Europa
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NASA Science >> Planets and Moons

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Europa Report