The global ocean on the moon of Jupiter, Europe, is hidden under a thick layer of ice.
Undersea ice is much cleaner than other types of ice, which means that Europe's ice shell can be much less salty than previously thought. Data are very important for NASA staff who are preparing to launch the Europa Clipper spaceship. It will have a radar that will look under the ice shell to see if Europe's ocean is fit for life. Salt in the ice can affect radar vision. It is important to predict what ice is made of, it will help scientists understand the data.
A study published in August in Astrobiology was led by the University of Texas in Austin, which also guides the development of the Europa Clipper radar instrument.
Europe is a rocky world about the size of the Earth's moon, surrounded by an ocean and an ice shell several kilometres thick, the sixth most distant of the planet's Jupiter satellite, the smallest of four Galileo satellites.