This spectacular image taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft camera shows a region of ridged plains on Jupiter's moon Europa. The plains are comprised of many parallel and cross-cutting ridges, commonly in pairs. The majority of the region is of very bright, but darker material is seen primarily in valleys between ridges. Some of the most prominent ridges have dark deposits along their margins and in their central valleys. Some of this dark material probably moved down the flanks of the ridges and has piled up along their bases. The most prominent ridges are about a kilometer in width (less than a mile). In the top right hand corner of the image the end of a dark wide ridge (about 2 kilometers or 1.2 miles across) is visible. Several deep fractures cut through this ridge and continue into the plains. The brightness of the region suggests that frost covers much of Europa's surface. This image looks different from those obtained earlier in Galileo's mission, because this image was taken with the Sun higher in Europa's sky.
This image was taken on December 16, 1997 at a range of 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) by Galileo's solid state imaging system. North is to the top of the picture, and the Sun illuminates the surface from the upper left. This image, centered at approximately 14 degrees south latitude and 194 degrees west longitude, covers an area approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) on each side. The resolution is 26 meters (85 feet) per picture element.
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 http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ galileo. Image Credit: NASA/JPL