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Io: Fourth Largest Moon by Jonathan Chung and Jared Kornfield

Page history last edited by Jonathan Chung 12 years, 9 months ago







The discovery of Io was credited to Galileo Galilei in 1610. This moon is the fourth largest moon in the solar system. It is also the most active out of all the known moons in the solar system. This moon has volcanic activity within itself. Sometimes the volcanic activity can spill out onto the moon's surface by means of geysers, lava lakes, and lava flows. The average surface temperature is -143 degrees Celsius and its escape velocity is 2.56 kilometers per second. Io is the closest to Jupiter compared to the other three Galilean moons - its 421,700 kilometers away from Jupiter. Io does have a atmosphere, although it is very thin. The atmosphere is composed of sulfur dioxide. Jupiter's magnetosphere rips gases and dust particles from Io every second.

Below is the predicted interior of Io.

Below is an image of Loki Patera. Loki Patera is a lake located in the northern hemisphere of Io. It is believed to a lake filled with lava or liquid sulfur. 


Below is an image of Ra Patera, an enormous shield volcano on Io.



Io - Ra Patera











Io in Greek Mythology

Io was a priestess who was seduced by Zeus and later transformed into a female cow. Io in her cow state wandered the deserts of Egypt and later left her descendent, Belus, who later became King of Egypt.



Galileo was not the only one who discovered Io. Simon Marius was not credited for the findings but the names that he gave the unknown objects (at the time) are still used today. Marius' work can be found in the book, Mundus Jovialis



Spacecrafts that flew past Io

1. Pioneer 10 and 11 gave an estimate of how large Io really was on December 3, 1973.

2. Voyager 1 and 2 captured the different colors of Io's surface, the many mountains on its surface, as well as lava flows.

3. The findings discovered from Galileo encounter were that of a large iron coreand its major role was to view the eruptions on Io. It reveal large numbers of active volcanoes on the moon.


Suggested Experiments


The composition of these lavas and plumes remains uncertain. Are they silicate lavas similar or are they composed of liquid sulfur (which might account for Io's yellowish color) or a combination? What we would like to do is send a Lander to Io which would land near one of the smaller volcanoes near the equator and would take a small sample from an older lava flow, have it test the sample, and then send back the results. For this we will need a sensors and a probe outfitted on the Lander so it can test the lava sample. The Lander will not need some of the heat outfitting but will need retro burners for a soft landing as well as high radiation protection.


            Because Io’s temperatures in certain areas can be close to some of the harshest heats on Earth, what we would like to do is send a Lander with a camera and search a geyser there to see if any organisms are there. What we will need is a Lander outfitted with a winch with sensors attached to the end of it so the sensors can be lowered into the ground and even geysers.  The Lander will not need some of the heat outfitting but will need retro burners for a soft landing as well as high radiation protection. We are optimistic about the possibility of single or multi celled organisms living in the cooler and moister regions of the moon.


            Some mountains appear to have been formed by uplift and thrust faulting, and, in some cases, may rise to great heights; Euboea Montes, for example, tops out at an altitude of 13 km. The sheer size and steepness of these peaks argue that the material underlying them is rock and not some form of sulfur. Images of Euboea Montes suggest that it formed from the uplift of a large crustal block, which caused a landslide that has left an enormous debris apron at the mountain's base. The debris flow is 200 km wide and contains an estimated 25,000 cubic km of rock. What we would like to do is send a probe to Io which would land on one of the large mountains or near its base. This probe would take seismic images and also drill a small hole and take a neutron log (sees the radioactivity of each rock) which would all show us what type of rock the mountains are made of. This will show us more of the geological makeup of the moon.













Comments (4)

Peilin said

at 10:18 pm on Jan 11, 2009

You have a lot of images, but not enough information on the moon itself. Your experiments and the way you plan to achieve them is nice, but some information is lacking such as how you going to get the lava? In general the website looks good, just need more info.

Katlin Luu said

at 4:39 pm on Jan 5, 2009

I like your experiments and the way you guys present it. Everything like the equipment and explanation of how to carry it out was written, which is good otherwise I would be lost. I especially like that the thought retro burners had to be added to the Lander was included. Just add stuff about your predictions.

David said

at 12:11 pm on Jan 5, 2009

Since Io can be as hot as the harshest spots, assuming you're talking about human adaptable, not much effort is required to protect thevprobe, right? And the distance is far compared to mars, is the same thing being done? Just out of curiousity, would it be considered a dwarf planet if inhabitable?

Yuen Tai Chan said

at 11:22 pm on Jan 4, 2009

Overall this website could use a little more research, you guys showed an image of the interior of Io without explaining it, how would people know what are the composition of the core? Also I think the greek mythology is not special enough to get its own section. :]

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