Friday, 19 December 2014
Murthy S Gudipati and Bryana L Henderson, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, La Canada, CA, United States
Recent detection of atomic hydrogen and atomic oxygen and their correlation to potential water plumes on Europa [Roth, Saur et al. 2014] invoked significant interest in further understanding of these potential/putative plumes on Europa. Unlike on Enceladus, Europa receives significant amount of electron and particle radiation. If the plumes come from trailing hemisphere and in the high radiation flux regions, then it is expected that the plume molecules be subjected to radiation processing. Our interest is to understand to what extent such radiation alterations occur and how they can be correlated to the plume original composition, whether organic or inorganic in nature.

We will present laboratory studies [Henderson and Gudipati 2014] involving pulsed infrared laser ablation of ice that generates plumes similar to those observed on Enceladus [Hansen, Esposito et al. 2006; Hansen, Shemansky et al. 2011] and expected to be similar on Europa as a starting point; demonstrating the applicability of laser ablation to simulate plumes of Europa and Enceladus. We will present results from electron irradiation of these plumes to determine how organic and inorganic composition is altered due to radiation.


This research was enabled through partial funding from NASA funding through Planetary Atmospheres, and the Europa Clipper Pre-Project. B.L.H. acknowledges funding from the NASA Postdoctoral Program for an NPP fellowship.

Hansen, C. J., L. Esposito, et al. (2006). "Enceladus' water vapor plume." Science 311(5766): 1422-1425.

Hansen, C. J., D. E. Shemansky, et al. (2011). "The composition and structure of the Enceladus plume." Geophysical Research Letters 38.

Henderson, B. L. and M. S. Gudipati (2014). "Plume Composition and Evolution in Multicomponent Ices Using Resonant Two-Step Laser Ablation and Ionization Mass Spectrometry." The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 118(29): 5454-5463.

Roth, L., J. Saur, et al. (2014). "Transient Water Vapor at Europa's South Pole." Science 343(6167): 171-174.