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NASA has discovered a 200 km wide lava lake on Jupiter's moon

NASA has discovered a 200 km wide lava lake on Jupiter's moon

April 21, 2024 – 08:44

1500 km away I approached him NASA's Juno spacecraft has probed the surface of one of Jupiter's moons, Io, and sent home a lot of very exciting measurement data. Among other things, Io is very interesting because this moon is the most volcanically active place in the entire solar system – mainly because, in addition to the force of Jupiter's gravity, it is constantly pulled back and forth by three neighboring moons.

Based on Juno's data, NASA created a graphic animation showing a 200-kilometre-wide lava lake. This is Loki Patera, which has smaller and larger islands and an active volcano.

Space agency scientists were also able to decipher why data from spacecraft shows that much of Io's surface appears reflective. This may be due to volcanic activity covering these areas with mirror-smooth molten glass or obsidian-like mineral.

Juno's instruments also continue to search for Jupiter's water, or water ice. Since this planet is a gas giant, it does not have a surface or topography in the same sense as Earth, for example, so they are not looking for traces of ancient rivers or lakes, but at least oxygen and hydrogen molecules in the dense atmosphere that could form water. So far, research has been unsuccessful, but the lack of water also gives scientists a lot of information about the planet.

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