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Astronomy with a large helping of physics and a pinch of the other sciences.

Cracks in Europa reveal a tilted past

(Sen) - By analyzing the distinctive cracks crisscrossing the icy surface of Europa, NASA scientists have found evidence that this moon of Jupiter likely spun around a tilted axis at some point.
This tilt could influence calculations of how much of Europa’s history is recorded in its frozen shell, how much heat is generated by tides in its underground ocean, and even how long the ocean has been liquid.
"One of the mysteries of Europa is why the orientations of the long, straight cracks called lineaments have changed over time. It turns out that a small tilt, or obliquity, in the spin axis, sometime in the past, can explain a lot of what we see," said Alyssa Rhoden, a postdoctoral fellow with Oak Ridge Associated Universities who is working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Cracks in Europa reveal a tilted past

(Sen) - By analyzing the distinctive cracks crisscrossing the icy surface of Europa, NASA scientists have found evidence that this moon of Jupiter likely spun around a tilted axis at some point.

This tilt could influence calculations of how much of Europa’s history is recorded in its frozen shell, how much heat is generated by tides in its underground ocean, and even how long the ocean has been liquid.

"One of the mysteries of Europa is why the orientations of the long, straight cracks called lineaments have changed over time. It turns out that a small tilt, or obliquity, in the spin axis, sometime in the past, can explain a lot of what we see," said Alyssa Rhoden, a postdoctoral fellow with Oak Ridge Associated Universities who is working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Continue reading via SEN

— 11 months ago with 366 notes
#solar system  #europa  #jupiter 
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