Jupiter’s Planet Io
Global view of Jupiter’s moon Io, obtained during the tenth orbit of Jupiter by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. Credit: NASA
Exploring the Solar System is like peeling an onion. With every layer, one finds a new batch of mysteries, each one more confounding and awesome than the last. And this is certainly the case when it comes to Jupiter’s system of moons, particularly its four largest – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Known as the Galilean Moons, in honor of their founder, these moons possess enough natural wonders to keep scientists busy for centuries.
Take Io for example. As Jupiter’s innermost moon, this satellites is the fourth-largest moon, has the highest density of all the moons, and is the driest known object in the Solar System. It is also one of only four bodies that experiences active volcanism and – with over 400 active volcanoes – it is the most geologically active body in the Solar System.
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