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NASA: Io’s volcanoes are in the wrong place

Kramer Phillips | @KramerPhillips| April 05, 2013

NASA: Io’s volcanoes are in the wrong place

Io gets completely resurfaced approximately once every million years of so because of the moon’s intense volcanism.

Io’s volcanoes are in the wrong place, according to NASA and European Space Agency researchers. Jupiter’s moon Io has hundreds of volcanoes, making it the most volcanically active world in the Solar System. However, models that predict how Io’s interior is heated make the case that the location of these volcanoes is wrong.

Io orbits faster than two neighboring moons, Europa and Ganymede. In fact, Io completes two orbits every time Europa finishes one, and four orbits every time Ganymede completes one. This means that Io experiences the strongest gravitational pull from its neighboring moons in the same location, which alters Io’s orbit into an oval shape and causes the moon to flex as it circles Jupiter.

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