Crescent Europa
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Crescent Europa

December 16, 2003
Although the phase of this moon might appear familiar, the moon itself might not. In fact, this crescent shows part of Jupiter's moon Europa. The passing robot spacecraft Voyager 2 captured this image in 1979. Visible are plains of bright ice, cracks that run to the horizon, and dark patches that likely contain both ice and dirt. Raised terrain is particularly apparent near the terminator, where it casts shadows. Europa is nearly the same size as Earth's Moon, but much more smooth, showing few highlands or large impact craters. Evidence and images from the Galileo spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter, indicate that liquid oceans might exist below the icy surface.

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