View Full Version : Spacecraft to jupiter moon io

2006-Jan-08, 02:23 AM
I hope that we can send a spacecraft to io to explore the volcanos there,does that ever happen? And has io an atmosphere? And will sunlight goes through the tchick or not so tchick atmosphere,if there is an atmosphere. I think that sending rovers (like on mars) is a good idea,because they can drive across the surface and they can drive to the volcanos. What do you think about it? Denis.

Nowhere Man
2006-Jan-08, 04:17 AM
I think that robotic exploration of Io would be very difficult. The primary reason is the intense radiation in that region. This is very hard on electronics, even the ones that are specially hardened for use in space. Galileo only went by Io a few times, near the end of the mission (IIRC) mainly for that reason.

As for rovers, since there is no appreciable atmosphere (www.nineplanets.org (http://www.nineplanets.org) describes it as "thin"), the rover would have to land purely on rocket power. This is expensive in terms of energy, both in the landing and in the initial launch -- You have to launch the fuel to be used in the landing, which means more fuel needed to launch and/or less scientific payload.

Driving to a volcano is dangerous in itself. Have you ever seen pix of the lava fields on Hawaii? Nasty places, rough and uneven and unstable. Not to mention hot lava, if the volcano is active.

Probably a better bet would be a disposable probe, like Huygens, but which would just smash into Io without attempting to land.


2006-Jan-08, 05:47 AM
It would also take a great deal of fuel to not only enter Jupiter orbit, but also to match Io's orbit, let alone circle the satellite itself.

I think a "bullseye", Ranger-type probe with a high transmission rate would be a good idea, as well, for Io and Europa. Since they'd be screaming along, the data rate would have to be very high indeed, IMO--but it could probably be done.

2006-Jan-08, 12:10 PM
Why is the radiation on io so intense? There is also radiation on mars,or am i wrong. Denis.

Nowhere Man
2006-Jan-08, 03:40 PM
The trouble is Jupiter's radiation belts. They're like Earth's Van Allen belts only more so, due to Jupiter's huge magnetic field. Charged particles get trapped there, and Io is well within them. Here (http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/wotherms.html) is some info on planetary magentic fields. You might want to read the whole site, as well.


2006-Jan-08, 05:52 PM
Denis12, please read about the Galileo mission:


It was how we gained most of our knowledge of Io.