SCE to AUX
- Sep 14, 2004
- Reaction score
On its way to Pluto and Charon, NASA's New Horizon spacecraft took this "movie" of the volcano Tvashtar on Jupiter's moon Io. This moon is the most geologically active place in the solar system: more than 400 active volcanos. Io orbits close to Jupiter and the gravitational tides cause internal heat and the resultant volcanism. Io is a hellish place, bathed in high energy radiation and infested with sulfur spewing volcanos. It will be a very long time, if ever, before humans venture to the surface of Io. Some other moons of Jupiter are more hospitable, including Europa which has a water ocean covered by ice. Who knows what is in that ocean? It will probably be decades before we find out, but even now NASA is working on autonomous underwater robots: http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=12593648010
Here's an image of Io snapped by the Galileo spacecraft:
Tvashtar in Motion
Complete article: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/display.cfm?IM_ID=5503
This five-frame sequence of New Horizons images captures the giant plume from Io's Tvashtar volcano. Snapped by the probe's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter earlier this year, this first-ever "movie" of an Io plume clearly shows motion in the cloud of volcanic debris, which extends 330 kilometers (200 miles) above the moon's surface. Only the upper part of the plume is visible from this vantage point. The plume's source is 130 kilometers (80 miles) below the edge of Io's disk, on the far side of the moon.