University of Colorado at Boulder University of Colorado CU Home Search A to Z Index Map

4/17/2014 Seminar – Europa’s Atmosphere, Aurora and Plumes

Published on April 17, 2014

Speaker:Melissa McGrath (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL)
Location:SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

Europa, with its subsurface water ocean and apparent ingredients
for life, is perhaps the most habitable environment currently known
in our solar system beyond the Earth. Like the other Galilean satellites,
Europa also possesses a tenuous atmosphere, which has been of greatest
interest because it reflects the surface composition of the satellite,
and therefore also potentially provides a window into the composition of
its sub-surface ocean. The recent apparent detection of water vapor plumes
near Europa’s south pole makes the connection between atmosphere and
sub-surface composition much stronger and more direct. Both the nominal
atmosphere and the plumes are detected via “auroral glow”, which currently
provides one of the only techniques to remotely sense then from
Earth. This talk will review the existing body of data about
Europa’s atmosphere, aurora and plumes, and disucss how a future
Europa Clipper mission might measure them.


Plumes Pretty Picture