Three satellites of Jupiter, seven satellites of Saturn, and five satellites of Uranus show spectroscopic evidence of H2O ice on their surfaces, although other details of their surfaces are highly diverse. The icy surfaces contain contaminants of unknown composition in varying degrees of concentration, resulting in coloration and large differences in albedo. In addition to H2O, Europa has frozen SO2, and Ganymede has O2 in the surface; in both of these cases external causes are implicated in the deposition or formation of these trace components. Variations in ice exposure across the surfaces of the satellites are measured from the spectroscopic signatures. While H2O ice occurs on the surfaces of many satellites, the range of bulk densities of these bodies shows that its contribution to their overall compositions is highly variable from one object to another.
NASA Ames Research Center Technical Report
- Pub Date:
- January 1995
- Jupiter Satellites;
- Uranus Satellites;
- Saturn Satellites;
- Lunar and Planetary Exploration