and theThrace Region
image of Europa and an enlargement of the Thrace region gives visual
evidence of the dramatic advance in our knowledge of Jupiter's second
Galilean satellite due to the Galileo mission.
to the Galileo mission, scientists' knowledge of Europa was simply
a small ice- covered moon with an exceptionally bright surface covered
by faint curved and linear markings. Now, scientists see evidence
of a young and thin, cracked and ruptured ice shell, probably moving
slowly over the surface of a briny ocean that is 100 kilometers
(62 miles) or more deep. Europa has become recognized as a potential
habitat for extraterrestrial life and is now an important target
for future solar system exploration. This image was produced at
Arizona State University.