This is an image of the surface of Io.
Click on image for full size
Can there be Life in the Environment of Io?
In spite of the fact that Io has an atmosphere, the environment of Io seems pretty unfriendly toward life as we know it
Io is very small, so there is not much gravity. For this reason, the atmosphere of Io is constantly drifting away. If it were not for the volcanic eruptions, there would be no atmosphere at all.
Io is inside the enormously powerful magnetosphere of Jupiter. With very little atmosphere, there is little protection from the radiation of the charged particles of the magnetosphere.
With little atmosphere, there is no buffer between the surface and space itself. This means that the temperature above the surface is very cold. On the other hand, with all the volcanic activity, the surface of Io is frequently molten, therefore the surface itself is sometimes super-hot!
All together these things add up to a very hostile environment for life as we know it.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!Traveling Nitrogen
is a fun group game appropriate for the classroom. Players follow nitrogen atoms through living and nonliving parts of the nitrogen cycle. For grades 5-9.
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