Io, moon of Jupiter
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
Io is a Salty Moon!
News story originally written on January 3, 2003
Astronomers have discovered that the volcanoes on Io, a moon of Jupiter, are shooting salt into the moon’s atmosphere. The salt spurts out in the form of a gas adding sodium to the clouds.
Scientists have known that Io’s atmosphere was salty for decades but they did not know why. Bob Brown discovered sodium, an element within salt, in the clouds of Io’s atmosphere in 1974. He was surprised that no one had found it before, but, as Darrell Strobel, a professor at Johns Hopkins University said about the discovery, “nobody was looking for it; nobody would have guessed it was there”.
Now scientists like Darrell Strobel have discovered that it is the many volcanoes that are causing the moon to be so salty. Io is more volcanically active than any other planet or moon in our solar system. “Roughly two tons of volcanic material are tossed into Io’s magnetosphere every second,” says Darrell Strobel.
Scientists intend to do future analyses to understand how the salt is broken down into sodium and chlorine atoms within the moon’s atmosphere.
Last modified January 3, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more