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F. Leblanc (Department of Astronomy and Engineering, University of Virginia), M.E. Brown (Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology), R.E. Johnson (Department of Astronomy and Engineering, University of Virginia)
Recent observations made by Brown of the sodium around Europa allow an accurate study of its origins. A 3-D Monte Carlo simulation following the ejected atoms and sodium bearing molecules from Europa's surface is presented. The gravity fields of Europa and Jupiter, the thin O2 Europa atmosphere, the ionization of the atoms and the dissociation of the molecules by energetic electrons and the solar pressure are taken into account in order to reproduce the particular structure of the observed sodium cloud. From this work we can obtain the composition and the energy distribution of the ejected particles that give the best agreement between observation and simulation. Using this we are able to calculate the total loss rate for sodium and we conclude that the ejected Na is primarily endogenic.
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