Europa surface is too soft new study suggests
Jupiter’s icy moon Europa has been on the top positions for mission to find extraterrestrial life in our solar system, because it has the most favorable conditions for life to evolve! Now a team of scientist suggested that Europa Surface is too soft to land; and landing attempt is going to be very delicate; you or your rover may sink in the dune of micro icy particles after landing.
Europa has an Icy surface and temperature remains below minus 160 degree Celsius, but beneath there is an ocean of warm water with micro or giant Aliens. Europa has ten times oxygen than hydrogen, just like earth,
Study on Aluminum oxide powder matches Europa Surface
A Team of scientist experimented with various configuration of Aluminum oxide powder, they measured the reflectance properties of this analog for the material on the surface of Europa, means they think that particles found on Europa surface may be similar to aluminum oxide.
They found that Europa Surface is covered with powder composed of very small particles and 90% of space between particles are void. This testing material matched with several key reflectance characteristics with actual Europa surface. It suggests that Europa has a very low-density surface.
This study published in scientific journal “icaus” titled “Laboratory simulations of planetary surfaces: Understanding regolith physical properties from remote photopolarimetric observations”. The study was led by Robert M. Nelson, the Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) and included members from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Polytechnic State University at Pomona and several other universities.
Luna 2 did not sank in Moon’s dusty surface
The leader scientist of the team Robert M. Nelson said “Of Course, before the landing of the Luna 2 robotic spacecraft in 1959, there was concern that the moon might be covered in low density dust in to which any future astronauts might sink, However, we must keep in mind that remote visible-wavelength observations of objects like Europa are only probing the outermost microns of the surface”
Small Submarine Rover
So, the upper surface of Europa is made of particles less dense than fresh snow, we don’t know the depth of this layer till now, is there any hard icy surface? or there is warm ocean just below this shallow surface?. Scientists have to find answers before landing any spacecraft on the Europa Surface, and what about rover, we can not run Mars’s opportunity and curiosity type rovers; for a shallow surface and warm sea, we are going to need a small submarine rover.