Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

January 2, 1998
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Europa's Disconnected Surface
Credit: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Jupiter's moon Europa is so exciting that the Galileo spacecraft orbiting Jupiter has now embarked on an extended mission to study it. Oceans that might exist beneath Europa's surface are thought to be one of the best places to look for life in our Solar System. The Galileo Europa Mission has planned eight close fly-bys frozen moon. The first close encounter of this extended mission occurred last December and the next will occur in February. The above enhanced color picture shows a small region of Europa's Conamara region. The white and blue colors highlight regions covered by ice dust from the collision that created the Pwyll Crater. Disconnected islands of ice are visible that have apparently rafted to new positions.

Tomorrow's picture: The Barren Moon

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.