Diurnal temperature color image from the first light test of Europa Clipper’s thermal imager (called E-THEMIS), taken from the rooftop of the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 on the Tempe Campus of Arizona State University (ASU). The top image was acquired at 12:40 PM, the middle at 4:40 PM, and the bottom image at 6:20 PM (after sunset). Temperatures are approximations during this testing phase.
The thermal imager will use infrared light to distinguish warmer regions on Europa’s surface, where liquid water may be near the surface or might have erupted onto the surface. The thermal imager will also characterize surface texture to help scientists understand the small-scale properties of Europa’s surface