Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




JOVIAN DREAMS
An experiment recreates the crust of the moon Europa
by Staff Writers
Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain (SPX) Mar 18, 2014


The scientists have simulated in the laboratory the extreme conditions of the fluid reservoirs in the crust of Europa. Image courtesy CAB (INTA-CSIC).

Water, salts and gases dissolved in the huge ocean that scientists believe could exist below Europa's icy crust can rise to the surface generating the enigmatic geological formations associated to red-tinged materials that can be seen on this Jupiter's satellite. This is confirmed by the experiment carried out in the laboratory with water, carbon dioxide and magnesium sulfate by researchers at Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB, Spain).

Scientists suspect that inside Europa, one of the icy moons of Jupiter, reservoirs of liquid water exists, the essential element for life on Earth. This theory emerged from information obtained on the Voyager and Galileo missions, which also registered fractures and `chaotic' terrains associated to reddish materials, which contrast with the glacial white of the dominant water ice of the surface.

Some of these geological structures seem to be related to the rise of fluids coming from inside, as the space missions observations suggest. Data also suggest that red materials are hydrated salts, mainly of magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). Volatile compounds like carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) have been also detected.

Now, with all these premises, researchers at Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB, INTA-CSIC) have developed an experiment to explain how these fluids evolve in their way between the deep reservoirs and the moon's surface.

"Just like Earth's magma emerges to the surface, a similar phenomenon could occur in Europa. Although, in this case it would be a watery cryomagma that would evolve and emerge outwards from the interior of the icy moon," says Victoria Munoz Iglesias, one of this work's authors, published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

To confirm their hypothesis, the scientists have simulated in the laboratory the extreme conditions of the fluid reservoirs in the crust; particularly the high pressure (reproducing up to 300 bars) and the low temperature (around -4 + C). They have observed what happens to an aqueous solution with CO2 and MgSO4 from these conditions when it emerges and cools to the surface.

The result is a variety of processes similar to Earth's volcanism, but at temperatures below zero. Three types of minerals are formed depending of the fluid's evolution: water ice, clathrates of carbon dioxide and very hydrated magnesium sulfates (epsomite, meridianiite).

"These crystallization processes are exothermic (they release energy); they also produce volume changes inside the crust, when the cryomagma solidifies," says Victoria Munoz-Iglesias.

"If in the final mineral assemblage the quantity of clathrates is less than that of hydrated salts, the volume increases causing positive topographical features and fracturation in the crust.

"However, if the proportion of clathrates is bigger than the rest of solids, or these phases are destroyed releasing the gas, volume decreases and the terrains above might collapse. Some of the chaotic terrains of Europa's surface could have been produced in this way".

The researcher indicates that at present the reddish colour of these formations is explained as produced by the alteration of the salts due to the strong irradiation of Jupiter's charged particles, forming sulfurous compounds. Other theories point to the bombardment of sulphurous elements coming from volcanic emissions from the neighbouring satellite Io.

"Either way, our experiments show that certain characteristics of Europa's surface regarding its composition, morphology and topography might be explained if a saline aqueous medium is involved, which has important consequences for living beings on Earth," concludes the researcher.

Europa is one of the best candidates for life in the solar system. Actually, president Barack Obama presented NASA's budget for 2015 including an item for 15 million dollars to look for signs of life on this moon in the next decade.

The European Space Agency (ESA) also plans to launch the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission (JUICE) in 2022. When the spacecraft arrives at its destination, the icy moons of Jupiter, in 2030, it will fly over Europa two times to measure the thickness of its mysterious crust and explore its habitability.

References: Victoria Munoz-Iglesias, Olga Prieto-Ballesteros, Laura J. Bonales. "Conspicuous assemblages of hydrated minerals from the H2O-MgSO4-CO2 system on Jupiter's Europa satellite". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 125: 466, 2014.

.


Related Links
Centro de Astrobiologia
Jupiter and its Moons
Explore The Ring World of Saturn and her moons
The million outer planets of a star called Sol
News Flash at Mercury






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





JOVIAN DREAMS
Russia to Build Equipment for European Jupiter Probe
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Mar 03, 2014
Russian scientists will construct equipment for a European Space Agency probe to Jupiter, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology said Wednesday. Along with observing the solar system's largest planet, the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer is to visit three of the four Jovian moons discovered by Galileo: Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. The spacecraft is planned to carry 11 scientific i ... read more


JOVIAN DREAMS
China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover rouses from latest slumber

NASA Releases First Interactive Mosaic of Lunar North Pole

Study on lunar crater counting shows crowdsourcing effective, accurate tool

Spacesuits And Moon Notes Among The Stars At Bonhams NYC Auction

JOVIAN DREAMS
The Exploration of Murray Ridge Continues

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Resumes Full Duty

NASA Orbiter Safe After Unplanned Computer Swap

Mars name-a-crater scheme runs into trouble

JOVIAN DREAMS
Astronauts train at Maxwell

ORBITEC and Wisconsin Await Countdown for "VEGGIE" to Space on SpaceX 3

Orion Makes Testing, Integration Strides Ahead of First Launch to Space

Global patent filings jump 5.1% in 2013: WIPO

JOVIAN DREAMS
Tiangong's New Mission

"Space Odyssey": China's aspiration in future space exploration

China to launch first "space shuttle bus" this year

China expects to launch cargo ship into space around 2016

JOVIAN DREAMS
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the ISS in 2016

Russian Progress Spacecraft Boosts ISS Orbit

Japanese astronaut becomes ISS commander

Station Crew Preps for Return to Earth, Repairs Recycling System

JOVIAN DREAMS
Proton-M with two Russian communication satellites on board blasts off from Baikonur

Proton-M carrier rocket with two satellites abroad installed on Baikonur launch pad

Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services Announces Industry-Unique "Refund Or Reflight" Program

ASTRA 5B delivered for integration on Ariane 5 launcher

JOVIAN DREAMS
UK joins the planet hunt with Europe's PLATO mission

X-ray laser FLASH spies deep into giant gas planets

Crashing Comets Explain Surprise Gas Clump Around Young Star

Every red dwarf star has at least one planet

JOVIAN DREAMS
Heat-Based Technique Offers New Way to Measure Microscopic Particles

ISS dodges space junk

3D X-ray Film: Rapid Movements in Real Time

Reducing debris threat from satellite batteries




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.