One of the main objectives of proposed missions to the icy Jovian moons is to prove the existence of the postulated subsurface ocean on Europa using radar sounders. The success of these missions will rely on the ability of the radar signals to penetrate ten kilometers of icy material that could potentially contain various types of impurities. In this work we quantify the impact of magnesium sulfate hydrates on the electrical properties of water ice by performing a series of dielectric measurements on different ice/MgSO4.11H2O mixtures as a function of frequency and at temperatures comparable with those expected on the icy satellite surfaces. Our results indicate that the salt only affects the real part of permittivity of the mixtures, whereas the imaginary part, hence the attenuation, does not significantly differ from that of pure ice. This means that in some regions signal penetration may be better than previously thought.
Pettinelli, E., Lauro, S.E., Cosciotti, B., Mattei, E., DI PAOLO, F., Vannaroni, G. (2016). Dielectric characterization of ice/MgSO4.11H2O mixtures as Jovian icy moon crust analogues. EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 439, 11-17 [10.1016/j.epsl.2016.01.021].