Europa is the smallest of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. Discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei and named after a mythical Phoenician noblewoman Europa who was courted by Zeus and became queen of Crete.
Slightly smaller than Earth's Moon, it is the sixth largest moon in the solar system. The likelihood that its 10 to 15 miles (15 to 25 kilometers) thick icy surface covers liquid seas perhaps 100 miles (160 km) deep. Researchers suspect that the movement of the waters beneath the surface explain the chaotic jumble of cracks and ridges around its equator. That suggests Europa might be habitable for life. That possibility has excited both scientists and science fiction writers.
Location in Works of Science FictionEdit
- Recent research points up the possiblity of a large liquid lake the volume of the North American Great Lakes just below the surface, a possible location for the development of life.
Europa is also the name of fictional countries in several works of science fiction:
- Max Ehrlich's novel The Edict
- Casshern 2004 film