Astronomy Picture of the Day

Europa: Ice Line

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Europa: Ice Line


This bright white swath cutting across the surface of icy Jovian moon
is known as Agenor Linea.

In all about 1000 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide, only a section is
pictured here as part of a combined
color and black and white image based on data from the Galileo spacecraft.

Most linear features on Europa
are dark in color but Agenor Linea
is uniquely bright for unknown reasons.

Also unknown is the origin of the reddish material along the sides.

While these and other
details of
surface formations remain
mysterious, the general results of Galileo's exploration
of Europa have supported the idea that an ocean of liquid water lies
beneath the cracked and frozen crust.

An extraterrestrial

holds out the tantalizing
possibility of life.

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