Measuring Europa's Global Shape

I am a member of the UV Spectrograph (UVS) team on the Europa Clipper Mission, and I am exploring how UVS can serve to improve Europa Clipper's ability to determine Europa's long wavelength shape.

In order to search for plumes and a potential (tenuous) atmosphere around Europa, UVS is planning to observe stars passing behind Europa. Conveniently, in addition to measuing the spectrum of the starlight as it encounters Europa, UVS will end up very precisely measuring when the star dissappeared behind Europa, and when it reappeared. My work has been to show that these precisely timed occultations can serve as high quality altimetry (at a single point), and have a lot of value for improving Europa Clipper's determination of Europa's global shape. Our LPSC abstract is here and keep an eye out for a paper soon.