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 hardly a 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 volcanos, 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.
You might also be interested in:
Jupiter's magnetosphere is very special. It is the biggest thing in the entire solar system. Not only is it big enough to hold all of Jupiter's moons, but the sun itself could fit inside. It goes all...more
Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature)....more
In July, 1996, it was announced that Dr. David McKay, along with a team of scientists at Johnson Space Center (a division of NASA), had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in a meteorite named ALH84...more
Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds...more
Titan's atmosphere is a lot like the Earth's, except that it is very cold, from -330 degrees to -290 degrees! Like the Earth, there is a lot of Nitrogen and other complex molecules. There also may be an...more
Autotrophs are organisms that can "make their own food" from an inorganic source of carbon (carbon dioxide) given a source of energy. Most autotrophs use sunlight in the process of photosynthesis to make...more
In the warm primordial ocean, aggregates of amino acids, proteins, and other hydrocarbons came together into a form called *coacervates*. Amino acids will spontaneously form coacervates in the same way...more