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)
The global topography of Mars and implications for surface evolution.
Elevations measured by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter have yielded a high-accuracy global map of the topography of Mars. Dominant features include the low northern hemisphere, the Tharsis province, and the Hellas impact basin. The northern hemisphere depression is primarily a long-wavelength effect that has been shaped by an internal mechanism. The topography of Tharsis consists of two broad rises. Material excavated from Hellas contributes to the high elevation of the southern hemisphere and to the scarp along the hemispheric boundary. The present topography has three major drainage centers, with the northern lowlands being the largest. The two polar cap volumes yield an upper limit of the present surface water inventory of 3.2 to 4.7 million cubic kilometers. (+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)
Climate change as a regulator of tectonics on Venus.
Tectonics, volcanism, and climate on Venus may be strongly coupled. Large excursions in surface temperature predicted to follow a global or near-global volcanic event diffuse into the interior and introduce thermal stresses of a magnitude sufficient to influence widespread tectonic deformation. This sequence of events accounts for the timing and many of the characteristics of deformation in the ridged plains of Venus, the most widely preserved volcanic terrain on the planet. (+info)
The gravity field of Mars: results from Mars Global Surveyor.
Observations of the gravity field of Mars reveal a planet that has responded differently in its northern and southern hemispheres to major impacts and volcanic processes. The rough, elevated southern hemisphere has a relatively featureless gravitational signature indicating a state of near-isostatic compensation, whereas the smooth, low northern plains display a wider range of gravitational anomalies that indicates a thinner but stronger surface layer than in the south. The northern hemisphere shows evidence for buried impact basins, although none large enough to explain the hemispheric elevation difference. The gravitational potential signature of Tharsis is approximately axisymmetric and contains the Tharsis Montes but not the Olympus Mons or Alba Patera volcanoes. The gravity signature of Valles Marineris extends into Chryse and provides an estimate of material removed by early fluvial activity. (+info)
Possible ancient oceans on Mars: evidence from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data.
High-resolution altimetric data define the detailed topography of the northern lowlands of Mars, and a range of data is consistent with the hypothesis that a lowland-encircling geologic contact represents the ancient shoreline of a large standing body of water present in middle Mars history. The contact altitude is close to an equipotential line, the topography is smoother at all scales below the contact than above it, the volume enclosed by this contact is within the range of estimates of available water on Mars, and a series of extensive terraces parallel the contact in many places. (+info)
Evidence for crystalline water and ammonia ices on Pluto's satellite charon.
Observations have resolved the satellite Charon from its parent planet Pluto, giving separate spectra of the two objects from 1.0 to 2.5 micrometers. The spectrum of Charon is found to be different from that of Pluto, with water ice in crystalline form covering most of the surface of the satellite. In addition, an absorption feature in Charon's spectrum suggests the presence of ammonia ices. Ammonia ice-water ice mixtures have been proposed as the cause of flowlike features observed on the surfaces of many icy satellites. The existence of such ices on Charon may indicate geological activity in the satellite's past. (+info)