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Galileo Magnetometer Measurements: A Stronger Case for a Subsurface Ocean at Europa

Science  25 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5483, pp. 1340-1343
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5483.1340

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Abstract

On 3 January 2000, the Galileo spacecraft passed close to Europa when it was located far south of Jupiter's magnetic equator in a region where the radial component of the magnetospheric magnetic field points inward toward Jupiter. This pass with a previously unexamined orientation of the external forcing field distinguished between an induced and a permanent magnetic dipole moment model of Europa's internal field. The Galileo magnetometer measured changes in the magnetic field predicted if a current-carrying outer shell, such as a planet-scale liquid ocean, is present beneath the icy surface. The evidence that Europa's field varies temporally strengthens the argument that a liquid ocean exists beneath the present-day surface.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mkivelson{at}igpp.ucla.edu

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