Europa's Differentiated Internal Structure: Inferences from Two Galileo Encounters

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Science  23 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5316, pp. 1236-1239
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5316.1236

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Doppler data generated with the Galileo spacecraft’s radio carrier wave during two Europa encounters on 19 December 1996 (E4) and 20 February 1997 (E6) were used to measure Europa’s external gravitational field. The measurements indicate that Europa has a predominantly water ice-liquid outer shell about 100 to 200 kilometers thick and a deep interior with a density in excess of about 4000 kilograms per cubic meter. The deep interior could be a mixture of metal and rock or it could consist of a metal core with a radius about 40 percent of Europa’s radius surrounded by a rock mantle with a density of 3000 to 3500 kilograms per cubic meter. The metallic core is favored if Europa has a magnetic field.

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