The final Galileo SSI observations of Io: Orbits G28-I33

Elizabeth P. Turtle, Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, Alfred S. McEwen, Jani Radebaugh, Moses Milazzo, Damon P. Simonelli, Paul Geissler, David A. Williams, Jason Perry, Windy L. Jaeger, Kenneth P. Klaasen, H. Herbert Breneman, Tilnmann Denk, Cynthia B. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the observations of Io acquired by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) experiment during the Galileo Millennium Mission (GMM) and the strategy we used to plan the exploration of Io. Despite Galileo's tight restrictions on data volume and downlink capability and several spacecraft and camera anomalies due to the intense radiation close to Jupiter, there were many successful SSI observations during GMM. Four giant, high-latitude plumes, including the largest plume ever observed on Io, were documented over a period of eight months; only faint evidence of such plumes had been seen since the Voyager 2 encounter, despite monitoring by Galileo during the previous five years. Moreover, the source of one of the plumes was Tvashtar Catena, demonstrating that a single site can exhibit remarkably diverse eruption styles - from a curtain of lava fountains, to extensive surface flows, and finally a ∼ 400 km high plume - over a relatively short period of time (∼ 13 months between orbits 125 and G29). Despite this substantial activity, no evidence of any truly new volcanic center was seen during the six years of Galileo observations. The recent observations also revealed details of mass wasting processes acting on Io. Slumping and landsliding dominate and occur in close proximity to each other, demonstrating spatial variation in material properties over distances of several kilometers. However, despite the ubiquitous evidence for mass wasting, the rate of volcanic resurfacing seems to dominate; the floors of paterae in proximity to mountains are generally free of debris. Finally, the highest resolution observations obtained during Galileo's final encounters with Io provided further evidence for a wide diversity of surface processes at work on Io.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-28
Number of pages26
JournalIcarus
Volume169
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2004

Keywords

  • Geological processes
  • Io
  • Satellite
  • Satellites of Jupiter
  • Surfaces
  • Tectonics
  • Volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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