This is a new image of the large surface of Jupiter‘s icy satellite, potentially life-harboring Europa, showing these peculiar rivers of red ice.
This colorized image of Europa is a product of clear-filter grayscale data from one orbit of NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, combined with lower-resolution color data taken on a different orbit. The blue-white terrains show relatively pure water ice, because the reddish areas contain water ice mixed with hydrated salts, potentially magnesium sulfate or sulfuric acid. The reddish material is associated with the broad band in the center of the image, as well as some of the narrower bands, ridges, and disrupted chaos-type features. It is possible that these surface features may have communicated with a global subsurface ocean layer during or after their formation.
Part of the terrain in this previously unreleased color view is seen in the monochrome image, PIA01125.
The image area measures about 101 by 103 miles (163 km by 167 km). The grayscale images were obtained on November 6, 1997, during the Galileo spacecraft’s 11th orbit of Jupiter, when the spacecraft was approximately 13,237 miles (21,700 kilometers) from Europa. These images were then combined with lower-resolution color data obtained in 1998, during the spacecraft’s 14th orbit of Jupiter, when the spacecraft was 89,000 miles (143,000 km) from Europa.
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