Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Physics, Astronomy & Cosmology => Topic started by: chiralSPO on 05/04/2014 20:07:27

Title: How could the proposed ocean inside Europa be studied?
Post by: chiralSPO on 05/04/2014 20:07:27
I heard that Europa displays an induced magnetic field as it moves through Jupiter's magnetic field, and that this phenomenon is likely due to conduction of electric current through a salty ocean. Given what we know of the temperature, pressure and depth of the ocean, and measurements in the induced magnetic field, can we extract information about the ocean's ionic strength (concentration; how salty is it?) and ion mobility (what ions are they?)
Title: Re: How could the proposed ocean inside Europa be studied?
Post by: chiralSPO on 27/08/2014 23:13:38
I recently came across a paper that studies precisely this:

http://www.igpp.ucla.edu/public/mkivelso/Publications/317-Europa%20Chapt%2024.pdf
Title: Re: How could the proposed ocean inside Europa be studied?
Post by: evan_au on 31/08/2014 22:13:15
Rather than drill through many miles of rock-hard ice (which is likely to collapse due to tidal stresses), it may be easier to land a rover adjacent to one of the vapor plumes escaping from the interior, and sample the plume to get an idea of the composition of the interior (including salts and any organic compounds).

The current location of plumes could be detected with an infra-red telescope from orbit. A rover would be able to track the location of these geysers, as these hot-spots sometimes move.

A similar approach should work on Enceladus, providing a minimally-invasive peek inside these very interesting moons.