Scott Bolton on the Most Volcanically Active Body in the Solar System
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Jupiter's innermost Galilean moon, Io, is peppered with volcanos that are erupting almost all the time. In this episode, Scott Bolton, Principal Investigator of NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter, describes what we're learning from this space probe. Since its arrival in 2017, its orbit around the giant planet has progressively shifted to take it close to Jupiter’s moons and rings. In December 2023 and February 2024, it flew by Io, approaching within a distance of only 1,500 km. This enabled Juno to capture high-resolution imagery of its constantly changing surface, including hitherto unseen regions near its poles. As discussed in the podcast, Juno is equipped with a microwave instrument that enables it to look slightly below the moon’s surface into its lava lakes, as well as a suite of magnetometers to study Jupiter’s giant magnetosphere and its remarkable interaction with Io. Bolton’s research focuses on Jupiter and Saturn and the formation and evolution of the solar system. Prior to the Juno mission, he led a number of science investigations on the Cassini, Galileo, Voyager, and Magellan missions. He is Director of the Space Sciences Department at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
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