New high-resolution images of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa show that the surface is covered in what looks like roads, not craters, and that it stretches for miles.
Europa is thought to be the most likely place in the solar system to find extraterrestrial life, but it would be aquatic rather than terrestrial.
NASA’s Juno mission captured the images on September 29 during a rare flight that came 256 miles from the surface, and scientists admit that one image “. Severe fractures of the moon’s ice crust“Confusing.
The image covers about 93 miles (150 kilometers) by 125 miles (200 kilometers) from the surface of Europa, revealing an area criss-crossed by a network of fine ridges and double ridges (pairs of long parallel lines that indicate features high in the ice).”, she says. NASA agency.
“Near the top right of the image, as well as on the right and down the center, there are dark spots that are likely related to something underneath that is exploding at the surface.”
Comments on social media immediately began offering theories, with some calling the lines A road mapOthers suggest What are the footprints? Behind him is something sliding across the ice, and few Noting that they saw sticks in the picture.
As for the “dark spots” cited by NASA, some have pointed out that this spot is looks more like a “giant footprint“.
NASA scientists also have theories. They suspect that the lines are points where the surface of Europa “break upAnd something dark ‘below the surface’ filled the fissure.
According to Scott Bolton, the principal investigator for the Juno mission, “many believe that cracks and ridges in the ice sheet indicate faint streaks within the moon’s ice crust.”
The cracks, he said, “are exacerbated and exacerbated by swelling and receding tides due to Jupiter’s gravitational pull.”
Thought that Europe is surrounded “A huge liquid and salty ocean” Covered with a crust of ice 15 miles thick. The Temperatures It ranges from minus 210 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit at the poles, according to NASA.
However, exploration of the deep seas on Earth has shown that life can be found even in the most extreme places on Earth. Scientists think it may also be true elsewhere in the solar system.
“This image reveals an amazing level of detail in an area that has never before been photographed at this resolution and under floodlight conditions,” said Heidi Becker, associate principal investigator for the Juno Stellar Reference Unit.
“These features are very interesting. Understanding how they formed – and how they relate to the history of Europe – tells us about the internal and external processes that make up the ice crust.”
Juno started ‘Perfectly centered around Jupiter’but he expanded his search to include The four largest moons Of the planet, Europe is the smallest.
In the early 2030s, NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft will arrive and strive to answer these questions about the habitability of Europe. Data from the Juno flyby provides a preview of what this mission will reveal.