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---------- Original Message ----------
From: David Marjanovic <email@example.com>
To: DML <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: exopaleontology
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2010 10:32:44 +0200
> once UV light disassociates H2O within a vacuum with a strong
> electric field, the recombination of the oxygen ions into O2 takes a
> long time.
What electric field is there around Europa?
Europa orbits through Jupiter's ionic radiation belt (actually one of a couple
that Jupiter has). All of those electrons zipping past Europa creates a
whopper of an electric field (also a whopper of an induced magnetic field, but
that's beside the point in this case).
The presence of an ionic field makes it difficult for ionic oxygen to combine
into O2. Meaning that any O2 around Europa likely was created by some process
other than disassociation of water by ionizing radiation.
BTW: That radiation belt enveloping Europa will deliver a lethal dose of
radiation to a space-suited human in a few minutes.
So the top 3 feet of ice on that moon is likely quite sterile.
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