The 3D Direct Simulation Monte Carlo Study of Europa’s Gas Plume

Wei Ling Tseng, Ian Lin Lai, Wing Huen Ip, Hsiang Wen Hsu, Jong Shinn Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Europa has been spotted as having water outgassing activities by space-and ground-based telescopes as well as reanalysis of the Galileo data. We adopt a 3D Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) model to investigate the observed plume characteristics of Europa assuming that supersonic expansion originated from the subsurface vent. With a parametric study of the total gas production rate and initial gas bulk velocity, the gas number density, temperature and velocity information of the outgassing plumes from various case studies were derived. Our results show that the plume gases experience acceleration through mutual collisions and adiabatic cooling when exiting from the surface. The central part of the plume with relatively large gas production rates (1029 and 1030 H2 O s−1) was found to sustain thermal equilibrium and near continuum condition. Column density maps integrated along two different viewing angles are presented to demonstrate the importance of the projection effect on remote sensing diagnostics. Finally, the density profiles at different altitudes are provided to prepare for observations of Europa’s plumes including upcoming spacecraft missions such as JUICE and Europa Clipper.

Original languageEnglish
Article number261
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Europa
  • icy moon
  • plume


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