SIMULATION OF EUROPA'S RELIEF FORMATION AND MELTING PROBE'S MOVEMENT
Nowadays planetary bodies' studies are of the great interest. First of all, such space objects are the icy moons of the giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn. Of particular interest is the relatively smooth Europa's surface that is covered by a bands system, valleys, and ridges. To study the planetary icy body in future space missions, one of the problems to solve is the problem of design of a special device, capable to penetrate through the ice, as well as the choice of the landing site of this probe. To select possible landing site analysis of the Europa's surface relief formation is studied. This analysis showed that the compression, extending, shearing, and bending can influence on some arbitrarily separated section of Europe's icy surface. The computer simulation with finite element method (FEM) was performed to see, what types of defects could arise from such effects. Also the problem of melting probe movement through the ice is considered: how the probe will move in low gravity and low atmospheric pressure; whether the hole formed in the ice will be closed when the probe penetrates far enough or not; what is the influence of the probe's characteristics on the melting process; what would be the order of magnitude of the penetration velocity. This study explores the technique based on elasto-plastic theory and so-called “solid water” theory to estimate the melting velocity and to study the melting process. Based on this technique, several cases of melting probe motion are considered, the velocity of the melting probe is estimated, the influence of different factors are studied and discussed, and an easy way to optimize the parameters of the probe is proposed.