Europa is the sixth closest moon of the planet Jupiter, and the smallest of its four Galilean satellites, but still one of the largest bodies in the Solar system. Slightly smaller than Earth’s Moon, Europa is primarily made of silicate rock and probably has an iron core. It has a tenuous atmosphere composed primarily of oxygen. Its surface is composed of ice and is one of the smoothest in the Solar System. READ MORE….
So no, I didn’t just make up the makeup of this beguiling moon out of the thin thin atmosphere. Here’s some related factual basis for how I described the geology and frozen hydrosphere of this Jovian moon. From the Planetary Society:
And here’s a quote from a recent article on the Europa Mission Campaign:
There may be life out there beyond our pale blue planet…life with no connection to us, life with an ancient history of its own, life that — if discovered — would rewrite natural history as we know it.
We are speaking of the tantalizing Jovian moon Europa. In a solar system full of astonishing planets and their moons, Europa stands out. Scientists believe that beneath its unique frozen and cracked surface, there may exist an enormous ocean of liquid water, perhaps twice as much as in all of Earth’s oceans.