2002 Annual Science Report
Arizona State University Reporting | JUL 2001 – JUN 2002
Exploring the Living Universe; Origin, Evolution and Distribution of Life in the Solar System
The principal activities in this report period include:
1. Completion of a study of "The mitten" feature on Europa. This feature is considered to represent extrusion of material onto the surface from beneath Europa’s icy crust. As such, it could be a high priority target for future exploration and the search for past or present organic evolution. The results are currently in press in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
2. Pole-to-pole geological mapping has been completed for a strip of the leading and the trailing hemispheres of Europa in order to determine potential latitudinal or hemispheric asymmetries. This work was done as part of a PhD project and is currently being submitted for publication.
3. A study of ice deformation in one region of Europa was conducted to assess the potential for crustal fore-shortening. Positive evidence was found, and the results are currently in press in Geophysical Research Letters.
These three activities help characterize the current nature and evolution of Europa’s surface-near-surface environments and their potential as habitable zones.
4. Although the Europa Focus Group is funded separately, scientific guidance and organization are provided by Greeley though this module.
PROJECT MEMBERS:Ronald Greeley
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 5.0
Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.
Determine the presence of life's chemical precursors and potential habitats for life in the outer solar system.
Determine (theoretically and empirically) the ultimate outcome of the planet-forming process around other stars, especially the habitable ones.