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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Voyager 1's mosaic of Io's southern hemisphere

Filed under Jupiter's moons, Io, pretty pictures, amateur image processing, Voyager 1 and 2

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Voyager 1's mosaic of Io's southern hemisphere This mosaic consists of 33 separate images acquired by Voyager 1 as it approached for its close flyby of Io on March 5, 1979. Because it took almost an hour to capture all the images, Voyager 1's point of view shifted throughout the imaging; the individual photos have been "reprojected," stretched and warped based on information about Voyager 1's position while capturing each image to fit a common point of view (in this case, it is an orthographic projection, in which the viewpoint is from infinity).

NASA / JPL / Jason Perry

The mosaic reveals a number of volcanic features: paterae, flow fields, tholi, and plumes, in various shapes and sizes. Paterae in the south polar region tend to be larger than those nearer to the equator, suggestive of differences in lithospheric properties and magma source regions in Io's mantle.

Here are some of the named places visible:

Voyager 1's mosaic of Io's southern hemisphere (labeled)

NASA / JPL / Jason Perry

Voyager 1's mosaic of Io's southern hemisphere (labeled)

Original image data dated on or about March 5, 1979.


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Adolf Schaller: 02/15/2014 01:34 CST

The current emphasis on examining outer planet moons for procuring clues to ascertaining the conditions necessary for life may be robbing us of an even understanding of how most (planetary) bodies under conditions such as those on Io and elsewhere evolve - precious information which could itself provide us with an abundance of information about the prevalence of that fragile carbon-based chemistry we refer to as 'life'. We ought to explore the universe the way it is, not just because we hope to find something in it we want to see. Look at this magnificent image mosaic: How can we not learn immensely by examining Io in detail over time? The surface is changing before our eyes...if we bother to look. Sure, the radiation environment makes it a difficult challenge, but that shouldn't mean Io should not be regularly monitored and imaged by JUNO and other prospective missions to the Jovian system...ostensibly on missions to investigate the potential habitability of Europa and the outer moons.

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