Giant, jagged 'ice spikes' cover Jupiter's moon Europa, new study suggests

The moon is on the list for possible space exploration. Pic NASA

Jupiter's moon Europa is probably the most promising place in our solar system to search for signs of life beyond Earth.

Europa, however, has the ideal conditions necessary for penitentes to form more uniformly - its surface is dominated by ice.

In a recent study, researchers reported a new discovery, 50 feet tall "ice spikes" covering parts of the moon's surface.

There are examples of smaller ice shards which have formed from sublimation on Earth, but these are restricted to high-altitude tropical and sub-tropical regions like the Andes. "We find that surface sublimation rates exceed those of erosion by space weathering processes in Europa's equatorial belt (latitudes below 23°), and that conditions would favor penitente growth". It should also give scientists a much better idea of what the surface looks like, and if it sees a bed of icy spikes, NASA will have to figure out how to deal with them for future missions. The spikes are caused by ablation of ice and are similar to the ice deposits around the Earth's equator known as penitentes, which would make any future missions to the moon tricky.

Research published this past July suggests scientists on the hunt for life will have a better chance of finding potential biosignatures in Europa's younger ice and in lower-radiation locations.

As we all might know, Jupiter's moon is called Europa and was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei.

If you're planning a trip to Jupiter's moon Europa, be prepared for a rough landing.

"The unique conditions of Europa present both exciting exploratory possibilities and potentially treacherous danger", said lead author Daniel Hobley, of Cardiff University. Europa, the ice-covered Jovian moon where the existence of alien life hasn't been ruled out.

Jeff Moore, a co-author on the study and a Planetary Geologist at NASA's Ames research Center in Mountain View, CA, notes that NASA's upcoming Europa Clipper mission, set for launch early in the next decade, could directly observe penetentes with its high-resolution camera, and measure other properties of these interesting objects with the spacecraft's other instruments. Dr Moore is a co-investigator on Europa Clipper.

Related News:



Most liked

Dow Jones plunges 800 points as tech stocks tumble
Investors sold off United States government bonds, with the two-year yield touching its highest point since June 2008. Treasury yields sent investors fleeing from risky assets, hitting technology stocks especially hard on Wednesday.

Google Chromecast Gets an Upgrade, Google Home Support
Although rumours are now swirling about the Google Pixel Slate , nothing has been officially confirmed by the tech company. For one, the Pixel Slate Keyboard costs $199 compared to the $129 starting price of the Type Cover for the Surface Pro 6.

Cristiano Ronaldo's lawyer: Rape report docs altered, fabricated
Up until now Ronaldo has not acknowledged any agreement with Mayorga but in his statement Christiansen confirmed it did exist. Ronaldo has vehemently denied the rape accusations. 'The documents that allegedly contain statements by Mr.

NASA's Voyager 2 Probe May Soon Enter Interstellar Space
In May 2012, Voyager 1 experienced an increase in the rate of cosmic rays, must like what its sibling is now encountering. The official date when Voyager 1 crossed the boundary between the Solar System and space beyond was 25 of August 2012.

England can compete with Modric, Rakitic - Barkley
It's great living there, I haven't got any kids or anything yet, so I just wanted to experience living in west London. I'm still only 24 though, so hopefully I have a lot of years ahead of me and I can be involved for all of them.

Where do things stand with Jimmy Butler's trade request?
According to Krawczyinski, Minnesota is "making preparations to start the season with Butler on the roster". However, Woj reports that Butler was verbally challenging teammates, coaches and the front office.

Australia rejects calls to phase out coal-fired power
This move would spell certain disaster as the U.S. is the world's second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China. The landmark report released Monday said that time is running out to avert climate-induced disaster.

McConnell to AP: 'Nobody's going to beat' Murkowski
Seconds later, the president's supporters started the familiar " Lock her up! " chant. He says "the controversy ironically produced an adrenaline shot" among Republicans.

Mitch McConnell on Lisa Murkowski: 'Nobody's going to beat her'
In his speech at the ceremony, Kavanaugh said the emotional Senate confirmation process "tested" him, "but it did not change me". Describing Kavanaugh as a man of outstanding intellect and a brilliant scholar, Trump said his credentials were unsurpassed.

'2.2m Nepalis suffer from mental health disorder' - Capital
She says that young children, some as young as six-years-old, can also be affected by mental health issues. This forces people to suffer in silence and further isolate themselves.

Hurricane Michael turns into a terrifying skull in satellite image
Wind shears are winds which impact the sides of a hurricane and can weaken or sometimes dissipate the storm. Rick Scott warned at a news conference Tuesday.

Meghan Markle’s half-sister slams her and her mother, then makes this threat
This time it's her nephew, Tyler Dooley , who is starring in a new MTV reality show actually titled The Royal World . Meghan , 37, landed her role in Suits shortly before the couple's wedding. "She needs to do the right thing".

Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL and lot more to be unveiled
It has an iPhone X-esque notch and a supposed OLED display that spans 6.2 inches, with a screen resolution of 1,440x2,960 pixels. Meanwhile, wireless charging, which was built-in before the Nexus line was renamed Pixel, has returned for the new handsets.

Google Pixel Slate release - Google could announce huge iPad rival TODAY
Google's major event was today and there was a lot to talk about, but the most exciting thing is Google's new smartphone duo. The rear is still divided into matte and glass portions, although the matte part of the phone is much smoother than before.

Ignore even more phone calls with Google's 'call screen' feature
Rival Apple has played up its privacy-first practices, and how it collects as little information about its customers as possible. Just above that is a wide-angle 8-megapixel selfie camera and the rear snapper is also driven by an 8-megapixel sensor.