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Simulating Europa-class water plumes using DSMC: Comparison between 2D and 3D modeling, effects of inclusion of other species, and interaction with the Jovian environment

Presentation #501.06 in the session Icy Galilean Satellites: Magnetosphere and Exosphere (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Simulating Europa-class water plumes using DSMC: Comparison between 2D and 3D modeling, effects of inclusion of other species, and interaction with the Jovian environment

Simulation Monte Carlo code PLANET. Putative Europa plumes observed by the Hubble Space Telescope [1] should be observed in situ in the coming decade by several NASA/ESA missions, including Europa Clipper [2], Juno [3], and Juice [4]. Like for the plumes observed on Enceladus, the Europan plumes are supposed to be composed of water vapor and water ice grains, plus other volatiles [5-7]. The two-phase water vapor/ice grain plumes of those airless icy outer solar system moons, which vent up to hundreds of km above the surface, are a key signature of what lies below the surface. Such plumes would form a canopy with most of the material falling back onto the planet’s surface [8].

Similar to what was done for the Enceladus plumes [9-11], we simulate the Europan plumes using the DSMC PLANET code [12] to determine their spatially- and temporally-resolved steady-state behavior. For each plume, we consider an axisymmetric circular vent with a vertical domain extending up to 400 km, where a canopy is formed. We consider conditions at the vent to be similar to those found for the case of Enceladus: a mass flow rate of 10.4 kg/s, a vent radius of 10.2 m, an exit speed of the gas and the grains of 902 m/s, a mass fraction between the two phases equal to 5%, and a mixture exit temperature of 53 K. Then we simulate the full 3D plume, including the non-symmetrical external forces (Jovian gravity, centrifugal acceleration due to Europa’s orbiting Jupiter, and Coriolis acceleration). We compare the results to the 2D axisymmetric case, for different latitudes and longitudes of the plume’s vent. We also include other species in the outgassed mixture (such as methane). Finally, we account for the interaction. between the Jovian plasma environment and the plume, focusing on the impact on the plume number density and velocity fields.

Acknowledgments: This research is funded by NASA grant 80NSSC21K016.

References:

[1] Roth, L., et al. (2016), JGR, 121.

[2] Phillips, C.B. and R.T. Pappalardo (2014), Eos, 95.

[3] Filacchione, G., et al. (2019), Icarus, 328.

[4] Grasset, O., et al. (2013), PSS, 78.

[5] Hansen, C.J., et al. (2006), Science, 311.

[6] Hansen, C.J., et al. (2011), Geophys. Res. Lett., 38.

[7] Postberg, F., et al., U.o. Arizona, Editor. 2018: Tucson, AZ. p. 129-162.

[8] Berg, J.J., et al. (2016), Icarus, 277.

[9] Postberg, F., et al. (2009), Nature, 459.

[10] Porco, C., D.D. Nino, and F. Nimmo (2014), The Astronomical Journal, 148.

[11] Mahieux, A., et al. (2020), Icarus, 319.

[12] Yeoh, S.K., et al. (2015), Icarus, 253.

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