Pwyll (crater)

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Coordinates: 25°12′S 271°24′W / 25.2°S 271.4°W / -25.2; -271.4[1]

A combination of color and high resolution black and white data from NASA's Galileo spacecraft was used to produce this view looking down on the crater with the sun illuminating the scene from the right. The Conamara Chaos region is just below the "X" formed by lineae near the top.

The impact crater Pwyll (named after the Pwyll of Welsh mythology) is thought to be one of the youngest features on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

Pwyll's visible dark central region is about 26 kilometers in diameter, with a central peak rising to about 600 meters.[2]

Brilliant rays of debris blasted from the impact site extend outward for hundreds of kilometers. The white debris or ejecta clearly overlays everything else on the surface - indicating that this impact crater is younger than all surrounding features. The bright white color suggests a composition of water ice particles.[3]

The instruments of NASA's Galileo probe uncovered substantial evidence that water in liquid form exists below Europa's icy surface. If Europa has a subsurface ocean, it might also contain life.[4] NASA is considering ways to investigate the habitability of Europa.[5] The proposed 2020 EJSM/Laplace mission is unlikely for budgetary reasons. ESA's planned 2022 launch of Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer would take up that challenge.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blue, Jennifer. "Pwyll". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Research Program.
  2. ^ "Red-Blue Three dimensional view of Pwyll crater". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 1999-01-18. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Astronomy Picture of the Day, April 17, 1997". NASA. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Darling, David. "Encyclopedia of Science". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Wall, Mike (13 December 2012). "NASA Eyes Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa". Space.com. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 

External links[edit]