The smooth lava lake on Jupiter's moon sizzles in NASA aerial animations

Scientists on NASA's Juno mission used complex data collected during two flybys of Jupiter's third-largest moon Io to create animations that highlight this moon's most dramatic features. Io is one slightly larger than planet Earth and is also home to a mountain with a smooth lake of lava. Lava lakes like Io's Loki Patera have a cooling surface crust that slowly thickens until it becomes denser than the underlying magma. It then sinks and pulls in the nearby crust.

Juno was first launched in 2011 and arrived at our solar system's largest planet in 2016 on a mission to explore the Jovian system. It has 95 known moons and the four largest – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – are called the Galilean moons. Io is volcanically the most active.

This animation is an artist's concept of Loki Patera, a lava lake on Jupiter's moon Io, created using data from the JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft. With several islands in the interior, Loki is a depression filled with magma and rimmed with molten lava. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS.

“Io is simply littered with volcanoes, and we've seen a few in action,” said Juno's lead researcher Scott Bolton. said in a statement. “We also got some great close-ups and other data over a distance of 200 kilometers [127-mile-long] lava lake called Loki Patera. There are amazing details showing these crazy islands, embedded in the middle of a potential magma lake rimmed with hot lava. The specular reflection that our instruments captured from the lake suggests that parts of Io's surface are as smooth as glass, reminiscent of volcanically created obsidian glass on Earth.”

The observations were Announced April 16 during the General Assembly of the European Geophysical Union in Vienna, Austria.

[Related: See the most volcanic world in our solar system in new NASA images.]

Juno performed very close flybys of Io in December 2023 and February 2024, coming within 930 miles of the surface. The spacecraft captured the first close-up images of Io's northern latitudes. Maps made with data collected by Juno's Microwave Radiometer (MWR) instrument show that Io has a surface that is smoother compared to Jupiter's other Galilean moons, but also has poles that are colder than their mid-latitudes.

Mane photo

This animation, created using data collected by the JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno during flybys in December 2023 and February 2024, is an artist's concept of a feature on the Jovian moon Io that the mission science team nicknamed “Steeple Mountain.” CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Mountains and polar cyclones

With each pass, Juno flies closer to Jupiter's north pole. By changing the spacecraft's orientation, the MWR instrument can improve the resolution of Jupiter's northern polar cyclones. These storms can reach the top of the gas giant winds of 220 miles per hour and the data collected by Juno shows that not all polar cyclones are equal.

“Maybe [the] The most striking example of this disparity can be found in the central cyclone at Jupiter's north pole,” said Steve Levin, Juno's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. said in a statement. “It is clearly visible in both infrared and visible light images, but its microwave signature is not nearly as strong as other nearby storms. This tells us that the subsurface structure must be very different from that of these other cyclones. The MWR team continues to collect more and better microwave data with each orbit, so we expect to develop a more detailed 3D map of these intriguing polar storms.”

swirling red cyclones on the planet Jupiter
NASA's Juno spacecraft captured infrared images that astronomers combined to create this photo of Jupiter's north pole, showing a central cyclone and the eight cyclones surrounding it. Data shows that the storms are persistent features at the pole, with each circumpolar cyclone nearly as wide as the distance between Naples, Italy, and New York City in the United States. Wind speeds in the storms can reach 220 miles per hour. The colors in this composite represent radiant heat; the yellow (thinner) clouds are about 9 degrees Fahrenheit and the dark red (thickest) are about -181 degrees Fahrenheit. CREDIT: NASA, Caltech, SwRI, ASI, INAF, JIRAM

How much water is there on Jupiter? An enduring mystery

One from Juno primary scientific objectives is to collect data that will help astronomers better understand Jupiter's water wealth. However, the team is not looking for liquid water. Instead, they study Jupiterl's atmosphere to quantify the presence of the molecules that make up water, oxygen and hydrogen. According to NASAan accurate estimate of the oxygen and hydrogen molecules present in Jupiter's atmosphere is crucial to unraveling some of the underlying mysteries about the formation of our solar system.

Jupiter was probably the first planet to form about 4.5 billion years ago. It also contains most of the gas and dust that was not absorbed into the Sun when the Solar System formed. The abundance of water also has important implications for Jupiter's meteorology and internal structure.

[Related: Juno finally got close enough to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot to measure its depth.]

In 1995NASA's Galileo probe provided early data on the amount of water on Jupiter, but the data raised more questions than answers. It showed that the gas giant's atmosphere was unexpectedly hot and even devoid of water – contrary to what computer models had initially indicated.

“The probe made amazing scientific insights, but the data was so far off from our models of Jupiter's water abundance that we considered whether the location it sampled might be an outlier. But before Juno we couldn't confirm this,” Bolton said. “Now, with recent results based on MWR data, we have found that the amount of water near Jupiter's equator is roughly three to four times that of the Sun, compared to hydrogen. This definitively shows that the entry point of the Galileo probe was an abnormally dry, desert-like area.”

[Related: Jupiter’s icy ocean worlds could be cool travel destinations in the future.]

The new results support the idea that at some point during the formation of our solar system, water ice material may have been the source of heavy element enrichment. These are chemical elements that are heavier than the hydrogen and helium that Jupiter has collected. The planet's formation remains a mystery, as Juno's results on the gas giant's core suggest very low water density. How abundant H20 is on the gas giant remains a mystery that the Juno mission could potentially solve.

What's next for Juno?

Data collected during Juno's mission recall can help determine how much water is present on Jupiter in two ways. It could allow scientists to compare Jupiter's water abundance near the polar regions with that in the equatorial region. It could also shed additional light on the structure of the planet's dilute liquid core.

Junos the most recent flight past Io was on April 9 and the spacecraft came within about 16,250 miles of the moon's surface. The 61st flyby of Jupiter is scheduled for May 12 and it will continue to explore the planet and its moons until September 2025.

Related Posts

Scientific Tricks to Keep Your Bouquets Looking Fresh

Bringing a vibrant bouquet into your home isn’t just about instant beauty: These flowers can retain their freshness and continue to brighten up your space with the right care. Using…

  • Technology
  • July 12, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 21 minutes Read
The best Shark vacuums for 2024

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more › If you’re looking for a premium cleaning tool that might even…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

MLB midseason awards 2024: MVP and LVP, Cy Young and Cy Yuk, top rookies and more

  • July 13, 2024
MLB midseason awards 2024: MVP and LVP, Cy Young and Cy Yuk, top rookies and more

Snowflake shares drop after AT&T says hackers accessed data

  • July 13, 2024
Snowflake shares drop after AT&T says hackers accessed data

Beastie Boys sue parent company Chili for copyright infringement

  • July 13, 2024
Beastie Boys sue parent company Chili for copyright infringement

S&P drops, yen rises, Tesla drops

  • July 13, 2024
S&P drops, yen rises, Tesla drops

3 Colorado poultry workers test positive for bird flu

  • July 13, 2024
3 Colorado poultry workers test positive for bird flu

New ways to study spinal cord malformations in embryos

  • July 13, 2024
New ways to study spinal cord malformations in embryos

Macron's gamble on early French elections 'didn't pay off', says professor

  • July 13, 2024
Macron's gamble on early French elections 'didn't pay off', says professor

Wie moet USMNT inhuren om Berhalter te vervangen? Analyse van Klopp, Pochettino, Vieira en anderen

  • July 13, 2024
Wie moet USMNT inhuren om Berhalter te vervangen? Analyse van Klopp, Pochettino, Vieira en anderen

School collapse in Nigeria kills at least 16 students during exams

  • July 13, 2024
School collapse in Nigeria kills at least 16 students during exams

Paris Olympic ticket fraud on the rise ahead of the Summer Games. Here’s what to watch out for.

  • July 13, 2024
Paris Olympic ticket fraud on the rise ahead of the Summer Games. Here’s what to watch out for.

USWNT vs. Mexico live stream: Prediction, TV channel, how to watch online, time, news, odds

  • July 13, 2024
USWNT vs. Mexico live stream: Prediction, TV channel, how to watch online, time, news, odds