National Science Teaching Association

Archive: NSTA Science Update: The Exploration of Europa – an Ocean World in our Backyard, November 12, 2019

Web Seminar Archive Digital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Jupiter’s moon, Europa, has intrigued astronomers since the invention of the telescope, yet little was known about this icy satellite until the space age. Recent spacecraft observations suggest that Europa may have a salty ocean beneath its ice crust, as well as a very young surface, suggesting that this moon is active today. As an ocean world with interesting chemistry and energy sources, Europa is a prime location to search for life elsewhere in our Solar System.

This talk will give a brief history of Europa exploration, will describe what we know about Europa’s geology and interior, and will discuss NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission. The Europa Clipper will launch in 2023 and will address many fundamental questions about icy ocean worlds beyond Earth.

Presenter: Louise Prockter

View the Archive Video

To view the presentation slides from the web seminar and related resources, visit the resource collection. Continue discussing this topic in the community forums.

Below are comments from individuals who attended the seminar:

  • "I was awed by how much planning has to go into each mission, the decisions and tradeoffs that must be taken into account...I enjoyed the slide showing their proposed path around Europa and the bits of info such as their reasoning behind that decision, why they chose not to fly over the poles, the logistics of drilling through the ice, etc."
  • "I really enjoyed this web seminar! This was a great topic to gain knowledge and learn more about."
  • "I really enjoyed seeing the different images and found all of the similar features between Earth and Europa fascinating."
  • "It is my first time having zoom meeting. I have learned a lot. This is so valuable. What I enjoy the most is I can learn while staying at my home."
  • "Embarrasing to say, but I did not know about Europa. Everything was new and interesting to me. Especially the information about plate tectonics and that even though it is smaller it has way more water than Earth."

A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants' My Profile page in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

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Underwritten by National Science Teaching Association

National Science Teaching Association

Community ActivitySaved in 5 Libraries

Reviews (2)
  • on Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:35 PM

This NSTA Science Update web seminar was excellent and so timely for my Earth Science class. The historical overview at the beginning of the program showed the planning and implementation process that NASA underwent to study Saturn and its satellites. It was a trip down memory lane for me, but my students were fascinated as it was completely new information to them. It was exciting to see NASA's plans for the future and the brainstorming and planning process involved. I hope that NSTA continue these Science Updates. I love them.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:38 PM

Imagine the technology available at the time of this mission and what we have now. So sad the problems with the antenna. But what they did get sent back is awesome! Very thought provoking! It was interesting to think of taking a sub into this ocean and the engineering it would take to make it happen. WOW!

Vanda Baker  (Rose Hill, KS)
Vanda Baker (Rose Hill, KS)

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