2001 Annual Science Report
Arizona State University Reporting | JUL 2000 – JUN 2001
Exploring for Habitable Environments on Europa
Exploring for Habitable Environments on Europa (dm)
We have made substantial progress in deciphering the origin and evolution of the surface of Europa, and in characterizing the potential niches appropriate for astrobiology: 1) A general review of Europa was synthesized for a meeting of terrestrial sea ice experts, some of whom subsequently became involved with the Europa Focus Group; 2) calculations were made to determine the amount of heat necessary to account for some of the dark features seen on the surface of Europa (assuming that they result from ice sublimation and the formation of a lag deposit); some of these areas might be favorable for astrobiology, 3) standards were derived for the geological mapping of Europa and applied to one part of the surface, and 4) studies were completed of two areas where sub-ice materials have been brought to the surface by impact processes.
PROJECT MEMBERS:Ronald Greeley
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 5.0
Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.
Determine the presence of life's chemical precursors and potential habitats for life in the outer solar system.
Define climatological and geological effects upon the limits of habitable zones around the Sun and other stars to help define the frequency of habitable planets in the universe.