Volcanism on Io – Determining Lava Eruption Temperature to Answer the Biggest Questions in the Wake of the Galileo Mission
Volcanoes helped transform the surfaces of the Earth, the other terrestrial planets, and the Moon. However, the biggest volcanic eruptions in the Solar System are taking place not on Earth, but on Io, a moon of Jupiter. This wonder of the Solar System is a fascinating volcanic laboratory where powerful volcanic eruptions result from tidal heating, a process that also affects the ice-covered moon Europa. Despite multiple spacecraft visits and spectacular new observations of Io with large Earth-based telescopes, some of the biggest questions about Io's extraordinary volcanoes remain unanswered. Getting the answers requires an understanding of the difficulties of remote sensing of volcanic activity; a new, innovative approach to instrument design; and ultimately a return to Io. Ashley Davies, a volcanologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, CA, will describe how studying volcanoes on Earth leads to a clearer understanding of how Io's volcanoes work and how best to study them from spacecraft.
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