Tidal heating of Io (also known as tidal working) occurs through the tidal friction processes between Jupiter and its moon. Orbital and rotational energy are dissipated as heat in the crust of the moon. Io has a similar mass and size as the Moon, but Io is the most geologically active body in the Solar System. This is caused by the heating mechanism of Io. The major heating source of Earth and its moon is radioactive heating, but the heating source on Io is tidal heating. As Jupiter is very massive, the side of Io nearest to Jupiter has a slightly larger gravitational pull than the opposite side. This difference in gravitational forces cause distortion of Io’s shape. Differently from the Earth’s only moon, Jupiter has two other large moons (Europa and Ganymede) that are in an orbital resonance with it. Io is the innermost of this set of resonant moons, and their interactions maintain its orbit in an eccentric (elliptical) state. The varying distance between Jupiter and Io continually changes the degree of distortion of Io's shape and flexes its interior, frictionally heating it. The friction-induced heating drives strong volcanic activities on the surface of Io.
Although there is general agreement that the cause of the heat as manifested in Io's many volcanoes is tidal heating from the pull of gravity from Jupiter and its moon Europa, the volcanoes are not in the positions predicted with tidal heating. They are shifted 30 to 60 degrees to the East.A study published in 2015, explains the eastern shift by an ocean of molten rock under the surface. The movement of this magma would generate extra heat. Liquids, especially if they are sticky (or viscous), can produce heat through friction. The team who wrote the paper believe that the subsurface ocean is a mixture of molten and solid rock. When the molten rock flows, it may swirl and rub against the surrounding rock, thus generating heat.
Other moons in the Solar System undergo tidal heating, and they too may have more heat generated by this process, including heat from the movement of water. This ability to generate heat in a subsurface ocean increases the chance of life on bodies like Europa and Enceladus.
The Galilean moons are the four largest moons of Jupiter—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They were first seen by Galileo Galilei in December 1609 or January 1610, and recognized by him as satellites of Jupiter in March 1610. They were the first objects found to orbit a planet other than the Earth.
Europa, or Jupiter II, is the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, and the sixth-closest to the planet of all the 79 known moons of Jupiter. It is also the sixth-largest moon in the Solar System. Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei and was named after Europa, the Phoenician mother of King Minos of Crete and lover of Zeus.
A natural satellite, or moon, is, in the most common usage, an astronomical body that orbits a planet or minor planet.
Ganymede, a satellite of Jupiter, is the largest and most massive of the Solar System's moons. The ninth-largest object in the Solar System, it is the largest without a substantial atmosphere. It has a diameter of 5,268 km (3,273 mi), making it 26% larger than the planet Mercury by volume, although it is only 45% as massive. Possessing a metallic core, it has the lowest moment of inertia factor of any solid body in the Solar System and is the only moon known to have a magnetic field. Outward from Jupiter, it is the seventh satellite and the third of the Galilean moons, the first group of objects discovered orbiting another planet. Ganymede orbits Jupiter in roughly seven days and is in a 1:2:4 orbital resonance with the moons Europa and Io, respectively.
Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It is about 500 kilometers (310 mi) in diameter, about a tenth of that of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Enceladus is mostly covered by fresh, clean ice, making it one of the most reflective bodies of the Solar System. Consequently, its surface temperature at noon only reaches −198 °C (−324 °F), far colder than a light-absorbing body would be. Despite its small size, Enceladus has a wide range of surface features, ranging from old, heavily cratered regions to young, tectonically deformed terrains.
In planetary science, planetary differentiation is the process of separating out different constituents of a planetary body as a consequence of their physical or chemical behavior, where the body develops into compositionally distinct layers; the denser materials of a planet sink to the center, while less dense materials rise to the surface, generally in a magma ocean. Such a process tends to create a core and mantle. Sometimes a chemically distinct crust forms on top of the mantle. The process of planetary differentiation has occurred on planets, dwarf planets, the asteroid 4 Vesta, and natural satellites.
Io, or Jupiter I, is the innermost and third-largest of the four Galilean moons of the planet Jupiter. It is the fourth-largest moon in the solar system, has the highest density of all of them, and has the lowest amount of water of any known astronomical object in the Solar System. It was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei and was named after the mythological character Io, a priestess of Hera who became one of Zeus's lovers.
A cryovolcano is a type of volcano that erupts volatiles such as water, ammonia or methane, instead of molten rock. Collectively referred to as cryomagma, cryolava or ice-volcanic melt, these substances are usually liquids and can form plumes, but can also be in vapour form. After eruption, cryomagma is expected to condense to a solid form when exposed to the very low surrounding temperature. Cryovolcanoes may potentially form on icy moons and other objects with abundant water past the Solar System's snow line. A number of features have been identified as possible cryovolcanoes on Pluto, Titan and Ceres, and a subset of domes on Europa may have cryovolcanic origins. In addition, although they are not known to form volcanoes, ice geysers have been observed on Enceladus and potentially Triton.
Many parts of the outer Solar System have been considered for possible future colonization. Most of the larger moons of the outer planets contain water ice, liquid water, and organic compounds that might be useful for sustaining human life.
Tidal heating occurs through the tidal friction processes: orbital and rotational energy is dissipated as heat in either the surface ocean or interior of a planet or satellite. When an object is in an elliptical orbit, the tidal forces acting on it are stronger near periapsis than near apoapsis. Thus the deformation of the body due to tidal forces varies over the course of its orbit, generating internal friction which heats its interior. This energy gained by the object comes from its gravitational energy, so over time in a two-body system, the initial elliptical orbit decays into a circular orbit. Sustained tidal heating occurs when the elliptical orbit is prevented from circularizing due to additional gravitational forces from other bodies that keep tugging the object back into an elliptical orbit. In this more complex system, gravitational energy still is being converted to thermal energy; however, now the orbit's semimajor axis would shrink rather than its eccentricity.
An ocean world, ocean planet, water world, aquaplanet or panthalassic planet is a type of terrestrial planet that contains a substantial amount of water either at its surface or within a subsurface ocean. The term ocean world is also used sometimes for astronomical bodies with an ocean composed of a different fluid, such as lava, ammonia or hydrocarbons like on Titan's surface.
Extraterrestrial liquid water is water in its liquid state that naturally occurs outside Earth. It is a subject of wide interest because it is recognized as one of the key prerequisites for life as we know it and thus surmised as essential for extraterrestrial life.
Loki Patera is the largest volcanic depression on Jupiter's moon Io, 202 kilometres (126 mi) in diameter. It contains an active lava lake, with an episodically overturning crust. The level of activity seen is similar to a superfast spreading mid-ocean ridge on Earth. Temperature measurements of thermal emission at Loki Patera taken by Voyager 1's Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer and Radiometer (IRIS) instrument were consistent with sulfur volcanism.
The volcanology of Io, a moon of Jupiter, is the scientific study of lava flows, volcanic pits, and volcanism on the surface of Io. Its volcanic activity was discovered in 1979 by Voyager 1 imaging scientist Linda Morabito. Observations of Io by passing spacecraft and Earth-based astronomers have revealed more than 150 active volcanoes. Up to 400 such volcanoes are predicted to exist based on these observations. Io's volcanism makes the satellite one of only four known currently volcanically active worlds in the Solar System.
Internal heat is the heat source from the interior of celestial objects, such as stars, brown dwarfs, planets, moons, dwarf planets, and even asteroids such as Vesta, resulting from contraction caused by gravity, nuclear fusion, tidal heating, core solidification, and radioactive decay. The amount of internal heating depends on mass; the more massive the object, the more internal heat it has; also, for a given density, the more massive the object, the greater the ratio of mass to surface area, and thus the greater the retention of internal heat. The internal heating keeps celestial objects warm and active.
The habitability of natural satellites is a measure of the potential of natural satellites to have environments hospitable to life. Habitable environments do not necessarily harbor life. Planetary habitability is an emerging study which is considered important to astrobiology for several reasons, foremost being that natural satellites are predicted to greatly outnumber planets and that it is hypothesized that habitability factors are likely to be similar to those of planets. There are, however, key environmental differences which have a bearing on moons as potential sites for extraterrestrial life.
A lava planet is a hypothetical type of terrestrial planet, with a surface mostly or entirely covered by molten lava. Situations where such planets could exist include a young terrestrial planet just after its formation, a planet that has recently suffered a large collision event, or a planet orbiting very close to its star, causing intense irradiation and tidal forces.
Io Volcano Observer (IVO) is a proposed low-cost, outer-planet mission to explore Jupiter's moon Io to understand tidal heating as a fundamental planetary process. The main science goals are to understand (A) how and where tidal heat is generated inside Io, (B) how tidal heat is transported to the surface, and (C) how Io is evolving. These results are expected to have direct implications for the thermal history of Europa and Ganymede as well as provide insights into other tidally heated worlds such as Titan and Enceladus. The IVO data may also improve our understanding of magma oceans and thus the early evolution of the Earth and Moon.
A planetary-mass moon is a planetary-mass object that is also a natural satellite. They are large and ellipsoidal in shape. Two moons in the Solar System are larger than the planet Mercury : Ganymede and Titan, and seven are larger and more massive than the dwarf planet Pluto.
Mountains are widely distributed across the surface of Io, the innermost large moon of Jupiter. There are about 115 named mountains; the average length is 157 km (98 mi) and the average height is 6,300 m (20,700 ft). The longest is 570 km (350 mi), and the highest is Boösaule Montes, at 17,500 metres (57,400 ft), taller than any mountain on Earth. Ionian mountains often appear as large, isolated structures; no global tectonic pattern is evident, unlike on Earth, where plate tectonics is dominant.