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

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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 I25 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.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The final Galileo SSI observations of Io: Orbits G28-I33
Series title Icarus
DOI 10.1016/j.icarus.2003.10.014
Volume 169
Issue 1
Year Published 2004
Language English
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 26 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Icarus
First page 3
Last page 28
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