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Is it possible to detect large ocean floor structures in the gravity field of Europa?

Pauer, M. and Breuer, D. (2006) Is it possible to detect large ocean floor structures in the gravity field of Europa? In: Eos Trans. AGU Fall meeting supplement, 87 (52), P23E-0100. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2006, 2006-12-11 - 2006-12-15, San Francisco (USA).

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Abstract

The data provided by the Galileo mission suggested the existence of a deep water ocean at the Jupiter's moon Europa. This fact motivates the future plans for the Outer Solar System exploration because the presence of water and inner energy of this satellite - which is likely a consequence of the tidal heating from Jupiter - gives a chance for primitive life-forms to evolve. A part of the internal energy is released through the tectonic activity observed on the ice shell which surrounds that subsurface ocean. However, another part of the inner energy could drive the tectonics also on the oceanic floor, i.e. on the water/silicate boundary. If we find a way how to look underneath the top ice/water layer we could learn about the structures present on this boundary, e.g. volcanoes, rifts, etc. One of the possible ways to do that is the inversion of the gravity field, which reflects the mass distribution within the moon. Our study focus on a possibility to detect such large ocean floor features in the gravity data from some future Europa obiter mission. We test various tectonic structures (different in size and compensation state) based on the real planetary topography analogs to obtain the minimum size of those features which could be recovered from the gravity field inversion. We also study the needed resolution of the gravity data and the accuracy of the anticipated measurements. Finally, we test the inversion procedure on the global synthetic topography with embedded tectonic features to check the results in the presence of the observation noise.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Title: Is it possible to detect large ocean floor structures in the gravity field of Europa?
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Pauer, M.UNSPECIFIED
Breuer, D.UNSPECIFIED
Date:December 2006
Journal or Publication Title:Eos Trans. AGU Fall meeting supplement
Volume:87
Page Range:P23E-0100
Series Name:Eos Transactions AGU
Keywords:Seafloor morphology, geology, and geophysics Gravitational fields Tectonics Europa Tectonics and landscape evolution
Event Title:American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2006
Event Location:San Francisco (USA)
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:2006-12-11 - 2006-12-15
Organizer:AGU
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Vergleichende Planetologie (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Physics
Deposited By: Stefanie Musiol
Deposited On:15 Jan 2007
Last Modified:27 Apr 2009 13:24

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