# What happens to Europa's (or another ice moon's) water if we drilled a hole through the ice crust down to the ocean?

Suppose we drilled a 1 ft (30 cm) diameter hole through Europa's ice crust. As Europa doesn't have an atmosphere, the water would obviously either sublime (turn to vapor) or instantly freeze once a hole is drilled through, but how exactly would that be going on?

In the case of sublimation, the ocean won't sublime all at once, right? How fast would the sublimation be going on, how large of a volume of water would turn to vapor in a realistic time frame, or so?

In case of freezing, what would it look like if it froze instantly? Even before it froze, it would have to be liquid while exposed to the vacuum of space once the hole is drilled, which in turn would be impossible, or wouldn't it?

• Does Jupiter’s moon Europa have geysers? If so, what’s their source? May 19, 2021 at 16:58
• Some models of "geysers" involve evaporating locally trapped/melted water that passes through a nozzle-like narrowing and then escapes to space in a directed "jet", condensing into droplets along the way (roughly speaking). But you're asking about the "ice fishing hole" situation with a flat surface of water that's risen to some height below the ice surface inside a cylindrical hole drilled from surface down to ocean. If the ice is 1 km thick then the water's surface will be about 80 meters below the top of the ice and at one end of a 30 cm diameter "pipe" with space at the other end.
– uhoh
May 19, 2021 at 22:24
• @uhoh Or one may also ask what happens to the water if astronauts dig with pickaxes through the ice crust until they reach the ocean. They break the last ice between them and the water with the pickaxe, and the water would then be exposed to the vacuum of space. It seems it would begin to evaporate instantly while its surface would rise to the level at which ~92% of the volume remain underwater, but the water itself sublimes. I wonder what that would look like. Also, would the astronauts who digged through drown or would all of that happen more slowly? May 20, 2021 at 4:41
• Teh drilling mechanism would pug up the hole until it was removed. Since the ice lawyer is many miles thick the lower parts of it are under great pressure. Thus the lower ice leves should flow and plub up the lower part of the drill hole as the drill is being pulled up. May 20, 2021 at 18:01