Charley Kohlhase’s Solar System

The images that awed Voyager’s mission designer

(Courtesy Charley Kohlhase)

Voyager 2: Europa


“In this Voyager 2 image of Europa, I was immediately struck by the network of cracks on its frozen surface, and again pleased to see no craters. The scientists were already talking about a vast ocean beneath this crust, with tidally-induced crustal movement leading to the long fissures. Some believed the brighter centers inside the darker adjacent crack edges may have indicated warmer water rising up to fill the cracks and then freezing. Life in this deep ocean was probably unlikely, but I realized that scientists would lobby for future missions to penetrate the thick crust and probe the Europan ocean for bio-signatures.”


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