Science & Astronomy

Photos: Europa, Mysterious Icy Moon of Jupiter

Jupiter’s moon Europa contains an ocean of liquid water beneath its frozen surface. Original Image
Credit: NASA-JPL

'Remastered' View of Europa, Jupiter's Moon

A remastered view of Europa based on information from the Galileo mission of the 1990s. The new version, from 2014, has more realistic colors that resemble what the Jupiter moon would look like to the human eye. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Europa, Jupiter's icy moon, has long taunted scientists with its signs of a subsurface ocean of water and perplexing cracks on the surface. The spectacular image shown here is the best view yet of the icy Jovian moon. Released in November 2014, this Europa photo is a remastered image based on data from NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter in the 1990s. Read the Full Story.

See stunning images of Europa from NASA spacecraft here.

Natural Color Image of Europa

Natural color image of Jupiter's moon Europa. Original Image
Credit: NASA

Natural color image of Jupiter's moon Europa.

Inside Jupiter's Watery Moon, Europa (Infographic)

Scientists are eager to learn if Europa's huge subsurface ocean harbors alien life. See how Jupiter's icy moon Europa works in this SPACE.com infographic. Original Image
Credit: by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

Scientists are eager to learn if Europa's huge subsurface ocean harbors alien life. See how Jupiter's icy moon Europa works in this SPACE.com infographic.

Water Geysers on Europa

An artist's illustration of Jupiter's icy moon Europa, with a water geyser erupting in the foreground while Jupiter appears as a backdrop. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest Europa may have water plumes like Saturn's moon Enceladus. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. Original Image
Credit: K. Retherford, Southwest Research Institute

An artist's illustration of Jupiter's icy moon Europa, with a water geyser erupting in the foreground while Jupiter appears as a backdrop. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest Europa may have water plumes like Saturn's moon Enceladus. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. [Read the Full Story Here]

Europa Rising

The icy moon Europa rising above Jupiter’s cloud tops. The picture was one of a handful of the Jupiter system that New Horizons took primarily for artistic, rather than scientific, value. Original Image
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The icy moon Europa rising above Jupiter’s cloud tops. The picture was one of a handful of the Jupiter system that New Horizons took primarily for artistic, rather than scientific, value.

Europa South Polar Water Plume

A south polar water vapor plume on Europa is shown in blue in this Hubble Space Telescope data image, which is superimposed on a visible light image of the Jupiter moon's leading hemisphere. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Lorenz Roth, Southwest Research Institute/USGS

A south polar water vapor plume on Europa is shown in blue in this Hubble Space Telescope data image, which is superimposed on a visible light image of the Jupiter moon's leading hemisphere. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. [Read the Full Story Here]

Jupiter and Europa with Water Vapor Plumes

This image shows Jupiter and its icy moon Europa, with the moon's bright ultraviolet light signal from south polar water vapor plumes shown in blue. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Lorenz Roth, Southwest Research Institute/USGS

This image shows Jupiter and its icy moon Europa, with the moon's bright ultraviolet light signal from south polar water vapor plumes shown in blue. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. [Read the Full Story Here]

Europa Cross-Sectional Illustration

Jupiter’s moon Europa contains an ocean of liquid water beneath its frozen surface. Original Image
Credit: NASA-JPL

Jupiter’s moon Europa contains an ocean of liquid water beneath its frozen surface.

Water Plume on Europa: Leading Hemisphere

This Hubble Space Telescope data image shows the water vapor plume (blue) over the leading hemisphere of Europa superimposed on a visible light image of the icy Jupiter moon. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Lorenz Roth, Southwest Research Institute / USGS

This Hubble Space Telescope data image shows the water vapor plume (blue) over the leading hemisphere of Europa superimposed on a visible light image of the icy Jupiter moon. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. [Read the Full Story Here]

Galileo's Europa

Europa, as viewed from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. Visible are plains of bright ice, cracks that run to the horizon, and dark patches that likely contain both ice and dirt. Original Image
Credit: NASA/Ted Stryk

Above, Europa, as viewed from NASA's Galileo spacecraft. Visible are plains of bright ice, cracks that run to the horizon, and dark patches that likely contain both ice and dirt.

Living On Europa Would Be Tough, But Some Life May Already Be There (Infographic)

Scientists believe conditions may be right for life, under Europa's icy crust. See what it might be like for an astronaut exploring Europa. Original Image
Credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

Scientists believe conditions may be right for life, under Europa's icy crust. See what it might be like for an astronaut exploring Europa.

Simulated View from Europa's Surface

Artist's concept showing a simulated view from the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, with the giant planet looming over the horizon. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist's concept showing a simulated view from the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, with the giant planet looming over the horizon.

Europa's Frigid Surface Could Be a Hot Spot of Chemistry

Europa, a moon of Jupiter, appears as a thick crescent in this enhanced-color image from NASA's Galileo spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 1995. The view combines images taken in violet, green and near-infrared filters in 1998 and 1995. The colors have been stretched to show the subtle differences in materials that cover the icy surface of Europa. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Europa, a moon of Jupiter, appears as a thick crescent in this enhanced-color image from NASA's Galileo spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 1995. The view combines images taken in violet, green and near-infrared filters in 1998 and 1995. The colors have been stretched to show the subtle differences in materials that cover the icy surface of Europa.

Io and Europa Meet Again

This beautiful image of the crescents of volcanic Io and more sedate Europa is a combination of two New Horizons images taken March 2, 2007. Io steals the show with its beautiful display of volcanic activity. Original Image
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

This beautiful image of the crescents of volcanic Io and more sedate Europa is a combination of two New Horizons images taken March 2, 2007. Io steals the show with its beautiful display of volcanic activity.

Rare Arctic Springs Hold Clues to Jupiter's Moon Europa

The surface of Europa. Sulfur-rich materials there are concentrated along geological features and may reflect the composition of the subsurface ocean. Image from the Solid-State Imaging instrument onboard Galileo. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Colorado

The surface of Europa. Sulfur-rich materials there are concentrated along geological features and may reflect the composition of the subsurface ocean. Image from the Solid-State Imaging instrument onboard Galileo.

Europa's Hidden Ocean?

Europa, a moon among many circling Jupiter, appears to have a putative ocean hidden under its frozen surface crust. Tougher cameras, however, will be necessary to scope out the water regions beneath its shell of ice. Original Image
Credit: NASA

Europa, a moon among many circling Jupiter, appears to have a putative ocean hidden under its frozen surface crust. Tougher cameras, however, will be necessary to scope out the water regions beneath its shell of ice.

Impact on Europa

Artist's impression of an impact event on Jupiter's moon Europa. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

Artist's impression of an impact event on Jupiter's moon Europa.

Europa's 'Chaos Terrains'

On Europa, "chaos terrains" consist of regions where the icy surface appears to have broken apart, the broken pieces moved around, and then those pieces froze back together. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

On Europa, "chaos terrains" consist of regions where the icy surface appears to have broken apart, the broken pieces moved around, and then those pieces froze back together.

Chaos Regions on Europa

A map of Europa shows a few large areas with large concentrations of what are thought to be salts. Original Image
Credit: M.E. Brown and P.D. Fischer/Caltech , K.P. Hand/JPL

A map of Europa shows a few large areas with large concentrations of what are thought to be salts.

Jupiter, Europa & Callisto

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image on Dec. 7, 2000, just as two of Jupiter's four major moons, Europa and Callisto, were nearly perfectly aligned with each other and the center of the planet. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image on Dec. 7, 2000, just as two of Jupiter's four major moons, Europa and Callisto, were nearly perfectly aligned with each other and the center of the planet.

Artist's interpretation of NASA's Jupiter Europa Orbiter, part of the joint NASA-ESA Europa Jupiter System Mission

This artist’s concept shows NASA's Jupiter Europa Orbiter, which would carry a complement of 11 instruments to explore Europa and the Jupiter system. The spacecraft is part of the joint NASA-ESA Europa Jupiter System Mission. Original Image
Credit: NASA/ESA

This artist’s concept shows NASA's Jupiter Europa Orbiter, which would carry a complement of 11 instruments to explore Europa and the Jupiter system. The spacecraft is part of the joint NASA-ESA Europa Jupiter System Mission.

Time for Europa

The Europa Explorer would use gravity-assist flybys of both Venus and Earth, and thus would be able to deliver about three times the payload mass to the Jupiter system of previous concepts like Europa Orbiter. Original Image

The Europa Explorer would use gravity-assist flybys of both Venus and Earth, and thus would be able to deliver about three times the payload mass to the Jupiter system of previous concepts like Europa Orbiter.

Europa's Buried Lakes

Europa's "Great Lake." Scientists speculate many more exist throughout the shallow regions of the moon's icy shell. Original Image
Credit: Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/Univ. of Texas at Austin

Europa's "Great Lake." Scientists speculate many more exist throughout the shallow regions of the moon's icy shell.

Europa's Thera Macula

Thera Macula (false color) is a region of likely active chaos production above a large liquid water lake in the icy shell of Europa. Color indicates topographic heights relative to background terrain. Purples and reds indicate the highest terrain. Original Image
Credit: Paul Schenk/NASA

Thera Macula (false color) is a region of likely active chaos production above a large liquid water lake in the icy shell of Europa. Color indicates topographic heights relative to background terrain. Purples and reds indicate the highest terrain.

Linear Fractures on Europa

This enhanced-color view from NASA's Galileo spacecraft shows an intricate pattern of linear fractures on the icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ SETI Institute

This enhanced-color view from NASA's Galileo spacecraft shows an intricate pattern of linear fractures on the icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

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