NASA Image of the Day: Europa Galilean Moon

Image data from Europa’s moon has been reconstructed to create a color image, as seen by the human eye.

What do we see in today’s NASA image?

In the late 1990s, the Galileo spacecraft captured amazing views of Europa as it traveled through the Jovian system (the system that includes Jupiter, its rings and moons). The discovered evidence showed that there is probably a deep, global ocean hidden beneath the moon’s icy surface.

Europa’s curved and elongated fissures point to subsurface liquid water. The gravitational force exerted on this large moon in its elliptical orbit around Jupiter provides the energy necessary to maintain a liquid ocean. The possibility that this process could provide the energy necessary to support life even in the absence of sunlight is very tempting, making Europa one of the best places to look for extraterrestrial life. Following this hypothesis, the question arises, what kind of life is possible to grow in a deep and dark subsurface ocean?

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