Forest of the ice needles in Europe can reach a height of five-story building

Jupiter’s moon Europe may be surrounded by a region of solid ice needles, callaspo, which stretches along the equator and is extremely dangerous when landing space probes.

Лес ледяных игл на Европе может достигать высоты пятиэтажки

The mystery of the Cambrian explosion

In tropical and subtropical highlands of the Earth where the Sun is high and bright, and the air is dry, uneven heating of the dense compacted snow can create a narrow elongated kolhapuri — sloping, narrow and sharp pyramid up to a height of several meters. They can become a heavy obstacle for climbers and destroy the spacecraft that will land on Jupiter’s moon Europe. The authors of an article published in the journal Nature Geosciences, found that it was around the equator of Calasparra can reach a height of 15 metres.


For callaspo such dimensions are large, but they are too small to be able to see these structures directly, using the existing imagery of Europe. However, the computer simulation conducted by Daniel Hoble (Daniel Hobley) from Cardiff University and his colleagues from the USA showed that the conditions of the Equatorial regions of Europe, with its weak gravity and temperature which falls to minus 200 °C, stimulating the growth of callaspo able to grow a five-story building.

They can explain data and radar surveys of the surface of Europe, which pointed to the region are still not identified irregular structures: the radio may just be reflected and scattered on the needles callaspo, giving such a picture. In addition, Calasparra can lead to the anomalies noted in the data of the Galileo probe, which registered surprisingly low surface temperature of Europe during the night. Cold sides and tips of callaspo could just cover the surface, giving a distorted value.

Europe is considered one of the most interesting objects for study in the Solar system. Under its thick icy surface hides a liquid ocean, which theoretically could even give shelter to unique forms of life. Space agencies of different countries consider projects of missions that could explore the moon, and new data on Equatorial regions of Europe must be considered in all such plans.