Exploring Jupiter's icy moons with old techniques and big facilities-new insights on sulfuric acid hydrates

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American Geophysical Union
Sulfuric acid hydrates have been proposed to be abundant on the surface of Europa [1], and hence would be important planetary forming materials for this moon and its companions Ganymede and Callisto. Understanding of the surface features and subsurface of these moons could be advanced by firmer knowledge of the icy materials that comprise them [2], insight into which can be drawn from firmer knowledge of physical properties and phase behaviour of the candidate materials. We wish to present results from a study that started with the question ';What form of sulfuric acid hydrate would form on the surface of Europa'. The intrinsic hydrogen-domination of planetary ices, makes studying these materials with laboratory powder diffraction very challenging. Insights into their crystalline phase behavior and the extraction of a number of thermal and mechanical properties is often only accessible with high-flux synchrotron x-ray diffraction and utilization of the large scattering cross section with neutron diffraction. We have used the Powder Diffraction beamline at Australian synchrotron [4] and the Echidna (High-resolution neutron powder diffraction) instrument of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization, [5] to obtain an number of new insights into the crystalline phases formed from sulfruic acid and water mixtures. These instruments have enabled the discovery a new water-rich sulfuric acid hydrate form [6], improved structural characterisation of existing forms [7] and a charting the phase diagram of this fundamental binary system [8]. This has revealed exciting potential for understanding more about the surface of Europa from space, perhaps even providing a window into its past.[1] Carlson, R.W., R.E. Johnson, and M.S. Anderson, Science, 1999. 286(5437): p. 97-99. [2] Fortes, A.D. and M. Choukroun. Space Sci Rev, 2010. 153(1-4): p. 185-218. [3] Blake, D., et al., Space Sci Rev,, 2012. 170(1-4): p. 341-399. [4] Wallwork, K.S., Kennedy B. J. and Wang, D., AIP Conf Proc, 2007. 879: p. 879-882. [5] Liss, K.D., et al., Phys B-Cond Mat, 2006. 385-86: p. 1010-1012. [6] Maynard-Casely, H.E., K.S. Wallwork, and M. Avdeev, (In review). [7] Maynard-Casely, H.E., H.E.A. Brand, and K.S. Wallwork, J.of App.Cryst, 2012. 45: p.1198-1207. [8] Maynard-Casely, H.E., K.S. Wallwork, and H.E.A. Brand, (In Preparation). Stages of the crystal structure determination of sulfruic acid octahydrate a) the oxygen and sulfur postions were determined from the synchrotron x-ray data b) Once neutron diffraction data was collected Fourier difference methods were used to locate hydrogen positions to determine c) the full structure of sulfuric acid octahydrate.
X-ray diffraction, Neutron diffraction, Electron spectroscopy, Planets, Solar system, Ice, Coherent scattering, Electromagnetic radiation, Oxygen compounds, Sulfur compounds, ANSTO
Maynard-Casely, H. E., Avdeev, M., Brand, H., & Wallwork, K. (2013). Exploring Jupiter's icy moons with old techniques and big facilities-new insights on sulfuric acid hydrates. Paper presented at American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting San Francisco, California, 9-13 December.