Living On Europa Explained: Humans Might Not Be First (Infographic)
Scientists believe conditions may be right for life, under Europa's icy crust.
Credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist
Europa, the icy "cue ball" moon of Jupiter, has a relatively smooth crust of ice over a watery interior ocean. Cracks in the crust are due to the tidal forces of Jupiter’s mighty gravity. Scientists believe that Europa has the right conditions for some form of life to exist there today.
Europa has a thin oxygen atmosphere, but it is far too tenuous for humans to breathe. From the surface of Europa, Jupiter appears 24 times larger than the moon appears in our sky. Europa’s magnetic field shields its surface from Jupiter’s deadly radiation.
Gravity on Europa is about 13 percent that of Earth, or just a bit weaker than our moon’s gravity. The temperature averages about minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 160 Celsius) near the equator and minus 370 F (minus 220 C) near the poles.
Read our full special report:
Find out what it might be like to live on other worlds in our solar system, from Mercury to Pluto and beyond in our 12-part series.

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