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Water-group pickup ions from Europa

Presentation #501.03 in the session Icy Galilean Satellites: Magnetosphere and Exosphere (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Water-group pickup ions from Europa

Jupiter’s moon Europa has a predominantly water-ice surface, modified by exposure to its space environment. Charged particles break molecular bonds in its surface ice, dissociating water to produce hydrogen and oxygen. This process provides a potential way to oxygenate Europa’s subsurface ocean. Neutral hydrogen and oxygen species are understood to form Europa’s primary atmospheric constituents. These species, both in the immediate vicinity within Europa’s atmosphere/exosphere or in the extended neutral toroidal clouds, can be ionized and then picked up into Jupiter’s magnetosphere. Juno’s plasma instrument JADE, the Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment, has provided the first comprehensive in-situ observations of the composition of Jupiter’s plasma sheet with its Time-of-Flight mass-spectrometry capabilities. In September 2022, Juno performed a close flyby of Europa at altitudes less than a satellite radius, allowing it to directly observe water-group pickup-ions originating directly from the moon. Additionally, JADE observed the plasma populations downstream from Europa over the past few years, providing a comprehensive set of observations of Europa-genic pickup ions incorporated into Jupiter’s magnetospheric plasma. Here, we present observations of the magnetospheric composition in the Europa-Ganymede region of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, as well as direct observations of Europa-genic pickup ions during Juno’s Europa flyby. We will discuss these observations in the context of constraining the overall production of hydrogen and oxygen within Europa’s icy surface and we will additionally highlight the direct observation of Europa-genic material throughout Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

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