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Europan "freckles" sign of water movement
Posted: Fri, Nov 1, 2002, 6:21 AM ET (1121 GMT)
Europa freckles seen by Galileo (NASA/JPL) Planetary scientists have found reddish features on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa that could be evidence of water moving up and down under the moon's icy surface. Scientists reported this week at the Geological Society of America conference that they had found circular, reddish features in Galileo images of Europa's surface. These features, called "lenticulae", Latin for "freckles", are believed to be caused by movement of parcels of material from the moon's subsurface ocean towards the surface, like a lava lamp. Such a process could also carry organisms, which may exist in Europa's ocean, towards the surface, making it easier to detect them. University of Colorado scientists conducting the research estimate that Europa's icy crust is about 20 kilometers thick.
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