Jupiter's moon Europa has smoothest surface in the solar system and is composed mostly of cracked water-ice. In the above false-colored picture released last week by the NASA team in charge of the Galileo mission, blue hues represent ice plains divided by dirty red and brown bands of mottled terrain. As the robot Galileo spacecraft orbits Jupiter, it sends back revealing pictures of Jupiter and its large moons including Europa, Io, Ganymede, and Callisto. The region of Europa highlighted above is known as Minos Linea. The cause for many of the cracks remains unknown but may involve shifting stresses from gravity and temperature variations. The new Galileo pictures have increased evidence that liquid oceans may indeed exist under these giant ice-sheets, a place possibly ripe for the development of life.
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& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day