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How much material from Io reaches Europa?

Presentation #318.05 in the session “lo: Atmosphere and Beyond”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
How much material from Io reaches Europa?

Io ejects about 1 ton per second of material from its atmosphere. This material spreads out around Io’s orbit in a cloud of neutrals. The neutrals are ionized to produce the Io plasma torus that is controlled by Jupiter’s magnetic field and corotates with the planet’s ~10 hour spin period. There are multiple ways that this material from Io might reach Europa where impacting the surface might have astrobiological consequences. We estimate the net flux to Europa via various processes: (a) corotating thermal plasma in the outer torus; (b) inward-diffusing energetic ions; (c) fast neutrals produced via charge exchange of torus ions with the neutral clouds; (d) direct ejection of jets of neutrals in the plasma-atmosphere interaction at Io. We evaluate how much material (e.g. sulfur, oxygen, sodium) could reach different regions on the surface of Europa.


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