CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

A closer look at Chaos on Europa
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A closer look at Chaos on Europa
PIA 01403

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This mosaic of the Conamara Chaos region on Jupiter's moon, Europa, clearly indicates relatively recent resurfacing of Europa's surface. Irregularly shaped blocks of water ice were formed by the break up and movement of the existing crust. The blocks were shifted, rotated, and even tipped and partially submerged within a mobile material that was either liquid water, warm mobile ice, or an ice and water slush. The presence of young fractures cutting through this region indicates that the surface froze again into solid, brittle ice.

The background image in this picture was taken during Galileo's sixth orbit of Jupiter in February, 1997. Five very high resolution images which were taken during the spacecraft's twelfth orbit in December, 1997 provide an even closer look at some of the details. This mosaic shows some of the high resolution data inset into the context of this tumultuous region.

North is to the top of the picture, and the sun illuminates the scene from the east (right). The picture, centered at 9 degrees north latitude and 274 degrees west longitude, covers an area approximately 35 by 50 kilometers (20 by 30 miles). The finest details visible in the very high resolution insets are about 20 meters (22 yards) across, and in the background image, 100 meters (110 yards) across. The insets were taken on December 16, 1997, at ranges as close as 880 kilometers (550 miles) by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on NASA's Galileo spacecraft.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the Galileo mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL is an operating division of California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at URL Background information and educational context for the images can be found at URL

Image Credit: NASA/JPL