Five-story-high spikes of ice could make it difficult to land on Jupiter moon


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Fix it the American way. Nuke a nice spot and land there



Sounds like a mission for a very high resolution mapping before sending a lander is indicated. I wonder how one would estimate the depth of the surface above the ocean? Because if you wanted to drill (Or more likely melt) your way to the subsurface water you’d want to know how far that is.


Only way to be sure.


As soon as this made the news, I was reminded of a short story written by Professor Zvi Meiksin about a space mission landing on the surface of a planet shrouded in clouds and so much electrical noise that they had to filter out the spikes. Of course once they got through the clouds enough to see the actual surface, they discovered it was an actual spiky surface and the ship was impaled on one of them.


Nonsense. They’re obviously frozen monoliths.


Han Solo could do it.


Wait, so these deadly ice spikes haven’t actually been observed, and if they exist, they may cover anywhere from 0-100% of the surface, and it will be difficult to land if they exist, and if they cover almost 100% of the surface?


These dark hollows absorb more sunlight than the bright peaks around them, vaporizing down further in a feedback loop.

I … what? I get how a darker-colored object has a lower albedo and thus absorbs more sunlight, but when the darkness is caused by shadow, doesn’t that indicate that little or no sunlight is reaching the object? Can somebody with a better understanding of this phenomenon than I have explain this to physics-challenged me?



Whatever. They are absolute hell to hike/climb through, especially if you’re breaking trail.


In addition, they’ll be able to determine some things about the ice shell and the subsurface ocean by studying the magnetic-field environment around Europa. There’s also an imager that goes down to less than one meter per pixel, so we should be able to see the penitentes.


Oh! Thought that was a picture of Jeff Sessions for a minute there.


Every problem is also an opportunity. Use the spikes, don’t fight them, design the lander to be impaled.


Obviously the inhabitants don’t want any loitering bum spaceprobes.


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