June 23, 2024

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NASA: Stunning images of lava lakes and mountains on Jupiter's moon Io

NASA: Stunning images of lava lakes and mountains on Jupiter's moon Io

Two close flybys of the spacecraft Juno NASA by IoIts moon is full of volcanoes toIt collected unique images and data that the space agency turned into two impressive videos.

Io is slightly larger than our Moon, but unlike any other part of the solar system, its surface is covered with Hundreds of powerful volcanoesIt spews lava fountains tens of kilometers high, and can be seen even from large telescopes on Earth.

Juno flew within about 1,500 kilometers of Jupiter's surface in December and February to capture the first detailed images of its northern latitudes.

“Io is full of volcanoes, and we discovered some of them while fighting,” announced Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator.

“We also got some great close-ups and other data about the 200-kilometre-long lava lake called Lucky Patera. The specular reflection recorded by our instruments from the lake indicates that parts of the surface of Ios are smooth as glass, reminiscent of obsidian resulting from volcanic phenomena on Earth.

Next, watch the Loki Patera animation created by NASA using Juno data:

Although the temperature of magma on Io reaches thousands of degrees, Bolton said, the temperature of the moon's surface is likely to be minus 100 degrees Celsius. “When magma comes out with a volcanic eruption, it freezes immediately and may form sulfur snow,” he said.

This is also the case at Loki Patera: while the lava lake itself is very hot, the top of the islands within it are likely very cold.

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Impressive mountain

The Juno mission team used the spacecraft's microwave instrument to create maps of Jupiter's surface, showing how incredibly smooth the surface is. This is due to the lava that constantly appears and covers the surface.

However, Juno also captured an impressive mountain, which the team named after him Steeple Mountain. He located it with the help of the sun rising on the surface of Eos, revealing the shadow of a very sharp and pointed peak. “We used scientific data to understand shadows and measure distance,” Bolton said. “It may not be quite right, but that's what it would be like if you went there.”

Then watch the Steeple Mountain of Ios animation:

The team also used the large Atacama millimeter/submillimeter array telescopes in Chile to monitor gases in Eos' atmosphere. The researchers found evidence of abundant sulfur and chlorine enrichment, suggesting that Io may have been volcanically active for most or even the beginning of its existence, 4 billion years ago.

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Io in one Constant tug of warThey are attracted to the enormous gravity of Jupiter, but also to its large moons, Europa and Ganymede.

These three worlds pull on Io so violently that its surface swells and deflates by 100 metres, like only tides on Io occur on solid Earth. The forces acting on Io cause a huge amount of heat on its surface, which is why its lower surface remains like molten rock, consisting of either molten sulfur rocks or silicate rocks. Constant volcanic eruptions help the Moon relieve gravitational pressure.

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On April 9, Juno's camera captured the first image of Jupiter's south polar region


Io has been studied by numerous spacecraft, including Pioneer and Voyager in the 1970s and Galileo in the 1990s, and now Juno's discoveries are helping scientists understand the forces behind the Moon's volcanic activity like never before.

With information from: Unprecedented images reveal stunning features of Jupiter's 'tortured moon' By Ashley Strickland, CNN