Hydrogen peroxide on the surface of Europa.
Spatially resolved infrared and ultraviolet wavelength spectra of Europa's leading, anti-jovian quadrant observed from the Galileo spacecraft show absorption features resulting from hydrogen peroxide. Comparisons with laboratory measurements indicate surface hydrogen peroxide concentrations of about 0.13 percent, by number, relative to water ice. The inferred abundance is consistent with radiolytic production of hydrogen peroxide by intense energetic particle bombardment and demonstrates that Europa's surface chemistry is dominated by radiolysis. (+info)
Galileo imaging of atmospheric emissions from Io.
The Galileo spacecraft has detected diffuse optical emissions from Io in high-resolution images acquired while the satellite was eclipsed by Jupiter. Three distinct components make up Io's visible emissions. Bright blue glows of more than 300 kilorayleighs emanate from volcanic plumes, probably due to electron impact on molecular sulfur dioxide. Weaker red emissions, possibly due to atomic oxygen, are seen along the limbs, brighter on the pole closest to the plasma torus. A faint green glow appears concentrated on the night side of Io, possibly produced by atomic sodium. Io's disk-averaged emission diminishes with time after entering eclipse, whereas the localized blue glows brighten instead. (+info)
Formation of cycloidal features on Europa.
Cycloidal patterns are widely distributed on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Tensile cracks may have developed such a pattern in response to diurnal variations in tidal stress in Europa's outer ice shell. When the tensile strength of the ice is reached, a crack may occur. Propagating cracks would move across an ever-changing stress field, following a curving path to a place and time where the tensile stress was insufficient to continue the propagation. A few hours later, when the stress at the end of the crack again exceeded the strength, propagation would continue in a new direction. Thus, one arcuate segment of the cycloidal chain would be produced during each day on Europa. For this model to work, the tensile strength of Europa's ice crust must be less than 40 kilopascals, and there must be a thick fluid layer below the ice to allow sufficient tidal amplitude. (+info)
Sulfuric acid on Europa and the radiolytic sulfur cycle.
A comparison of laboratory spectra with Galileo data indicates that hydrated sulfuric acid is present and is a major component of Europa's surface. In addition, this moon's visually dark surface material, which spatially correlates with the sulfuric acid concentration, is identified as radiolytically altered sulfur polymers. Radiolysis of the surface by magnetospheric plasma bombardment continuously cycles sulfur between three forms: sulfuric acid, sulfur dioxide, and sulfur polymers, with sulfuric acid being about 50 times as abundant as the other forms. Enhanced sulfuric acid concentrations are found in Europa's geologically young terrains, suggesting that low-temperature, liquid sulfuric acid may influence geological processes. (+info)
Detection of SO in Io's exosphere.
The Galileo orbiter's close pass by Io in 1995 produced evidence for extensive mass loading of the plasma torus through the ionization of SO2. On 11 October 1999, Galileo passed even closer to Io, this time across the upstream side relative to the flow of magnetospheric plasma that corotates with Jupiter. On the first flyby, ion cyclotron waves gave direct evidence for the production of SO2+ ions. On the second flyby, ion cyclotron waves associated with SO+ were stronger and more persistent. Moreover, SO+ emissions were seen closer to Io than SO2+ emissions, suggesting that the exosphere was spatially inhomogeneous. The location of the waves suggests a fan-shaped region of ion pickup extending in the anti-Jupiter direction. Because the wave spectra were different even where the 1995 and 1999 trajectories crossed, we infer that Io's exosphere is temporally variable. (+info)
Galileo at Io: results from high-resolution imaging.
During late 1999/early 2000, the solid state imaging experiment on the Galileo spacecraft returned more than 100 high-resolution (5 to 500 meters per pixel) images of volcanically active Io. We observed an active lava lake, an active curtain of lava, active lava flows, calderas, mountains, plateaus, and plains. Several of the sulfur dioxide-rich plumes are erupting from distal flows, rather than from the source of silicate lava (caldera or fissure, often with red pyroclastic deposits). Most of the active flows in equatorial regions are being emplaced slowly beneath insulated crust, but rapidly emplaced channelized flows are also found at all latitudes. There is no evidence for high-viscosity lava, but some bright flows may consist of sulfur rather than mafic silicates. The mountains, plateaus, and calderas are strongly influenced by tectonics and gravitational collapse. Sapping channels and scarps suggest that many portions of the upper approximately 1 kilometer are rich in volatiles. (+info)
Io's thermal emission from the Galileo photopolarimeter-radiometer.
Galileo's photopolarimeter-radiometer instrument mapped Io's thermal emission during the I24, I25, and I27 flybys with a spatial resolution of 2.2 to 300 kilometers. Mapping of Loki in I24 shows uniform temperatures for most of Loki Patera and high temperatures in the southwest corner, probably resulting from an eruption that began 1 month before the observation. Most of Loki Patera was resurfaced before I27. Pele's caldera floor has a low temperature of 160 kelvin, whereas flows at Pillan and Zamama have temperatures of up to 200 kelvin. Global maps of nighttime temperatures provide a means for estimating global heat flow. (+info)
A close-up look at Io from Galileo's near-infrared mapping spectrometer.
Infrared spectral images of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io, acquired during the October and November 1999 and February 2000 flybys of the Galileo spacecraft, were used to study the thermal structure and sulfur dioxide distribution of active volcanoes. Loki Patera, the solar system's most powerful known volcano, exhibits large expanses of dark, cooling lava on its caldera floor. Prometheus, the site of long-lived plume activity, has two major areas of thermal emission, which support ideas of plume migration. Sulfur dioxide deposits were mapped at local scales and show a more complex relationship to surface colors than previously thought, indicating the presence of other sulfur compounds. (+info)