infographic illustrating various facts about Europa including its discovery, size, surface, interior, and ocean depth
Source: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech
Published: June 8, 2021

Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may be the most promising place in the solar system to find present-day environments suitable for life beyond Earth.

Quick Facts

Discovered: Jan. 7, 1610 by Galileo Galilei

Explored by: Pinoeer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Gallileo and Hubble spacecraft

Classification: Ocean Moon

Distance from the Sun: 5.2 Astronomical Units (Earth = 1 Astronomical Unit)

Orbital Period at Jupiter: 85 hours (3.6 Earth Days)

Atmosphere: Europa has an extremely thin oxygen atmosphere, too thin for humans to breathe.

Ocean Depth: ~ 60 miles (~ 100 kilometers) Scientist believe that Europa has twice the size of Earth’s oceans combined.

On the Surface: Europa's surface ( surface thickness estimates range from 2 to 20 miles (3 to 30 kilometers), is covered with a vast network of linear features such as cracks, ridges, and bands, as well as other smaller circular features that include pits, spots and domes.

Ingredients for Life? Abundant liquid water, energy and the right chemical elements make Europa one of the best places in the solar system to seek present day life beyond Earth.