1 November 2004 Astrobiology of Jupiter's icy moons
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Abstract
Jupiter's Icy Moons, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, may possess energy sources, biogenic molecules, and oceans below their icy crusts, thus indicating a strong possibility that they were abodes for present or past life. Life in Earth's icy areas lives in a wide variety of habitats associated with the ice, in the water column below the ice, and on the floor of the ocean below the ice. Similar habitats may exist on JIM, have been transported to the icy crust, and be exposed in tectonic or impact features. Europa has a young, dynamic surface with many outcrops exposing older ice, fresh ice, possible materials from the subsurface ocean, and a few impact craters. Ganymede has older, darker, tectonized terrains surrounded by light ice. Callisto has a much older, heavily impacted surface devoid of significant tectonic structures. Past and present life habitats may be exposed in these features, making Europa the most favorable target while Ganymede is of interest, and Callisto seems more unlikely to have detectable life. A proper search strategy requires detailed orbital imaging and spectrometry of the likely places, and surface data collection with microscopic, spectrometric, and biochemical instruments.
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Jere H. Lipps, Jere H. Lipps, Gregory Delory, Gregory Delory, Joseph T. Pitman, Joseph T. Pitman, Sarah Rieboldt, Sarah Rieboldt, } "Astrobiology of Jupiter's icy moons", Proc. SPIE 5555, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII, (1 November 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.560356; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.560356
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