The reason may be ocean currents under the surface of the satellite.
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology in the USA and Hokkaido University in Japan have revealed the secret of the icy surface of Jupiter’s satellite Europa.
About this writes ScienceAlert.
Scientists are sure that under the icy shell of Jupiter’s satellite Europa hides an ocean of salty water that circulates around the rocky depths of this world. Scientists believe that the movement of water may cause Europa’s shell to rotate faster and slower over time. That is, the speed of its movement differs from the speed of rotation of the inner part of the satellite.
Jupiter causes tidal forces on Europa. Along with the thermal energy released by radioactive decay, heat from Europa’s interior rises through the ocean to the frozen surface and causes currents. This force is so powerful that it can dislodge the satellite’s icy shell. The thickness of this ice is not known exactly, but scientists say that it can be from 15 to 25 kilometers.
“It was completely unexpected to me that what is happening in the ocean could be enough to affect the ice sheet. It was a huge surprise,” said scientist Robert Pappalardo.
We will remind, the spacecraft NASA made its 48th close flyby of Jupiter and sent a new batch of pictures of the planet to Earth. But NASA said that due to technical problems with the device’s camera, it managed to take only 44 of the planned 214 images.