by Tanya Gentry
Edited by: Kaeli Creson Astronomy Class Spring 2011
Edited by: Bernadette Espejo Spring 2012
Edited by: Nadeem Sherzai Fall 2012



Originally Galileo named the moons with roman numerals, Jupiter I, II, III and IV which

persisted until the mid 20th century. The naming of the moons after the lovers of Zeus from Greek mythology

was suggested by the German astronomer Simon Marius. An interesting occurrence in the discussion on who discovered Jupiter is that of Simon Marius.

Just a few nights after Galileo made his observations Simon Marius, a Dutch astronomer, saw Jupiter’s moons using his telescope. He was responsible for naming the said moons

after Greek gods. Galileo named them using numbers. Marius was ridiculed and ostracized since no one would honor the names he gave the moons spoken of. The names he gave

eventually were honored in recognition of his work and they are the names we know such moons today. Europa is named after the daughter of the king of Tyre.

Apart from Earth, Europa holds the most intriguing prospects for life in the entire Solar System.

Some scientists speculate that Europa's ocean could be teeming with life although most think that life would take

the form of micro-organisms living near hot vents on the ocean floor.

Europa, what kind of name is that?

"The Rape of Europa"by Noel-Nicolas Coypel
"The Rape of Europa"by Noel-Nicolas Coypel

Europa was the daughter of Agenor, and was beloved by Zeus. Zeus took the form of a beautiful white bull and encountered Europa at the seashore. By appearing to be very tame, he coaxed her to climb onto his back and then swam off with her across the sea to Crete. In Crete, Europa had three sons by Zeus -- Minos, Sarpedon, and Rhadamanthys. Zeus also gave her three gifts: the bronze man, Talos, to act as her guardian; a dog, Laelaps, which never failed of its quarry; and a javelin which never missed its mark. Europa afterwards married Asterius, the king of Crete.
Europa is also the name of a daughter of Tityus, and mother of Euphemus.

"Europa."Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.<>[Accessed May 19, 2012].

Basic Factseuropa2_vgr_big.gif

  • The moon was discovered in January 1610 by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei
  • Europa is the sixth moon in distance from Jupiter and the fourth largest
  • Europa is sometimes referred to as Jupiter II (Jupiter 2)
  • Europa's diameter is 1,940 miles (3,122 kilometers), which is also slightly smaller than Earth's moon
  • Europa takes three and a half days to orbit Jupiter at an average distance of 416,900 miles (670,900 kilometers).
  • There is possibly twice as much liquid water on Europa as there is on Earth
  • The darker areas on Europa's surface are suggestive of microbial life
  • Europa is thought to have an iron core just like Earth

Speed comparison of Galilean Moons
Speed comparison of Galilean Moons

Europa orbits Jupiter in just over three and a half days with an orbital radius of about 670,900 km.
With an eccentricity of only 0.009, the orbit itself is nearly circular. Europa, like the
other moons of Jupiter, is tidally locked to Jupiter, with one hemisphere of the satellite
constantly facing the planet, as with Earths Moon.

Image taken by Galileo Spacecraft launched 1989.
Image taken by Galileo Spacecraft launched 1989.

Jupiter is 317 times the mass of Earth and Europa is smaller than our moon, a 'little' interesting fact.

Image courtesy of NASA.
Image courtesy of NASA.

Europa compared to our moon compared to Earth compared to Europa.
Europa compared to our moon compared to Earth compared to Europa.


Europa (moon) Surface Structure

This unique moon has a very different core and surface and very different from others. Europa is primarily made of silicate rock and has a metallic core. It has a thin atmosphere and consists of oxygen. The surface is composed of ice and one of the smoothest in the solar system. This moon also has a lot of cracks, grooves, and streaks all over it. This making it very young and suspecting that water is existing beneath it.The heat energy from tidal flexing causes the ocean to remain liquid and drives geological activity similar to plate tectonics. It would make it possible for extraterrestrial life to be there.

A possible scenario for life on Europa.
A possible scenario for life on Europa.

Life on Europa?! No! Really?

That's right. Europa may host life beneath its icy crust layer. Sadly, it is believed that Jupiter's' magnetosphere may be destroying any detectable life in the moons oceans shallow depths. Scientists are seeking to experimentally explore just how far below the surface any organic life must delve to thrive.Currently, there is talk of a mission to Europa

Referenced Links to Take a Gander At

Life on Europa?!Audience: Teen-Adult
Author: Nola Taylor Redd
Last Updated: April 4, 2012
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2012
Reviewed By: Bernadette Espejo
  • This website is a self explained website geared toward 'Space'. This particular page is edited in paragraph form and is extremely reader friendly. This page mainly informs the reader of the recent discovery of the probability of life on moon Europa in full detail. This publication is also sponsored by the NASA astrobiology program.

A Tour of EuropaAudience: Teen-Adult
Last Updated: Sometime in 2012
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2012Reviewed By: Bernadette Espejo
  • This particular page is geared with user friendly navigation and in simple paragraph form. It is equipped with videos of digitally altered fabrications of technical movies. There are also cyber virtual tours of what Europa is expected to look like to the human eye. All information is cited from various pages via the NASA website.

Europa Mythological PointAudience: Teen-AdultAuthor: James HuntLast Updated: March 3, 1997
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2012Reviewed By: Bernadette Espejo
  • This website is user friendly as far as navigation goes, it is also reader friendly with a plethora of links ready to aid anyone in their mythological research. Information provided conforms with any other information on the web pertaining to Europa.

Interesting EuropaAudience: Teen-AdultAuthor: Richard GreenbergLast Updated: Book Published August 19, 2008 Date Reviewed: May 19, 2012Reviewed By: Bernadette Espejo
  • This page is directly scripted from the book "Unmasking Europa" written by Ricvhard Greenberg. The web page is easy to read with and with no need to navigate. Credible citing is below the context.

Nothin' but the facts Europ-a-what I mean?Audience: Teen-AdultAuthor: RC DavisonLast Updated: August 21, 2009Date Reviewed: May 19, 2012Reviewed By: Bernadette Espejo
  • This page is primarily based on facts found on NASAs' website and other credible sources for Europa. This page is not lengthy but rather a quick to the point list of facts on the Galilean beauty, Europa.

Europin'-more-info!Audience: Adult
Author: (over 5,000 authors)
Last Updated: January 1, 2011
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2012
Reviewed By: Bernadette Espejo
  • This website is much like Wikipedia. Acts as an encyclopedia with credible links below the actual topic content. This particular page is edited in paragraph form with pictures and is extremely reader friendly.

Europa Galore!
Pictures Above, provided by the following sites(additional sites included):

Websites To Explore

Ocean on Europa May be too Deep

Author: Msnbc or Msn
Last Updated:9/24/2012 7:09:10 PM ET
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2012
Reviewed by: Nadeem Sherzai
  • This site is maintained by a business that goes by the name of MSN, the data seems very trustworthy and it seems like the author of the page knows what he/she is talking about. Navigating through the page is relatively easy, they also give you extra links on the bottom of the page if you want to further your reading about Europa and space. The data comes from a huge business and can be trusted. It is very clear and easily readable and was written for a adult or teen audience. None of the information contradicts other sources of information about Europa.

Europa: Overview

Author: NASA (very trustworthy)
Last Updated: September 1, 2012
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2012
Reviewed by: Nadeem Sherzai
  • This website is run by NASA ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration) which is run by the government. its very trustworthy with very accurate information about Europa. The website is very easy to navigate around and also has different categories for pictures and additional information. The page is up to date and can be trusted. General audience for this page are teens and adults; although they have more links for younger children.

Life Beyond Earth? Jupiter's Moon May Have Clues

Author: Irene Klotz
Last Updated: Fri Apr 20, 2012
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2012
Reviewed by: Nadeem Sherzai
  • The information on the page is accurate, but can be a little cluttered. They post links in between the paragraphs that can mislead you and have you reading about a different topic. Overall it is a good page that describes future missions to Europa and Jupiter's other moons to try to find a source of life. This page is intended for teens and adults. The site is run by Discovery News but is written by Irene Clotz. This information can be trusted as it comes from a large news company.

There's More Water On Jupiter's Moon Europa than there is on Earth

Author:Robert Gonzalez
Last Updated: May 24, 2012
Date Reviewed: Dec 4 2012
Reviewed by: Nadeem Sherzai

  • This page is very interesting. The information comes from NASA and there Galileo satellite, which is a reliable source. The site is short and easy to read and is intended for teens and adults. The site is run by a buisness, but there information is accurate. It also includes more links to further your reading.

Europa: Jupiter's Icy moon and it's Ocean

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2011
Date Reviewed:Dec 4, 2012
Reviewed by: Nadeem Sherzai

  • This page is run by a business ( They have very useful information, all mostly cited form NASA, and their webpage is very easy to read and very simple to navigate through. All the information is accurate, not only that but they also post different videos on pictures showing Europa's different features. The site is well maintained and one of the better websites to find information about Europa. This page was written for teens and adults.

Jupiter Moon Europa
  • This is the website for the Solar System Quick website. This website gives all sorts of information on Europa. The site is very user friendly with a ton of information readily available. The photos are very good and helpful in every way. Each picture has its own description at the bottom of each one. Also at the bottom of this site there is many more links you can click on for other planets, etc. This page was last updated February 17, 2011.

Wiki Europa
  • This website gives a ton of interesting facts about Europa including what its core is made out of. The website is very neat and clean. The website has a lot of extra links that would be fun to click on and find tons of more information. This website has last been updated May 4, 2012.


  • This website may have a small amount of information but it is all very self explanatory. This link is very unique because it has all different kinds of tv clips and radio programs.This website is straight to the point and very easy to understand. It also has different links you can click on.This website has last been edited sometime this year of 2012.

  • This website has an outrageous amount of information to give and to share. The website has pictures and information and is very colorful making it fun to read. This website is also very easy to understand with its spaced out paragraphs and big fonts used .This website also has very many extra links offered. This website has last been updated or edited from 2011.

Solar System Exploration- Jupiter: Moons: Europa
  • This is the website for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This particular link gives information all about Europa etc. It is incredible because it is giving information straight from the source. The site uses basic language which is easy to comprehend. It also has links to other parts of the websites on the photos titles and also at the references at the bottom of the page, which makes it easy to navigate and find additional information. The page was last updated on April 24, 2012. Europa

  • This website gives many interesting facts about Europa including who discovered the planet. The page is set up in paragraph form which is fairly easy to follow. The information given is similar to the facts given on the NASA site which leads me to believe this is a credible source. The site also has numerous links, many of the words are links to other parts of the website which give the definition. The page was last updated on October 1, 2005.

Return to Europa

  • This website gives information about the possible explorations into Europa's ice-covered ocean and if sustaining life there is possible. This page is set up in paragraph form and has colored pictures. It also gives credit to the University of Texas Austin, which leads me to believe this is a credible source. The site has links at the top, left, and bottom portions of the page. Navigating though this website is easy. The page was last updated on December 21, 2007.

Europa, a Continuing Story of Discovery

  • This website is a database of sorts for information about Europa. It gives numberous links that lead to information such as Europa space missions, animations; it also gives direct facts about Europa such as its diameter, surface gravity, etc. The website is extremely easy to navigate and read because it is mostly a collection of links. I find this site to be credible because it has "" in its URL. The page was last updated on June 28, 2010.

Europa: Jupiter II

  • This website gives basic facts about Europa and also some about its dark, crisscrossing bands, as well as its broken ice, surface activity and much more. The site is in paragraph format, accompanied by charts, colored pictures, animations and links. Navigation is easy and the langauge used is understanble. The facts given are similar to those on other websites, however the page does not state when it was last updated. The page says it is copyrighted from 1997-2009.