Scientists propose crashing empty fuel tank into Jupiter moon
SALT LAKE CITY— A literal moonshot just might reveal the thickness of Europa’s icy crust.
A new plan to launch an SUV-sized rocket canister at Jupiter’s famous, frigid moon could shake the surface so much that the tremors would be visible from space, said mechanical engineer T.J. Campbell of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
A spacecraft flying overhead could record the tremors, which might help scientists figure out how thick Europa’s ice shell really is, Campbell and colleagues proposed May 24 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Estimates range from a few kilometers to more than 30 kilometers (SN: 5/17/14, p. 20).