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Sources of Na for the Io atmosphereThe physics and geology of Io have been extensively studied, but there has been little discussion of the chemistry. Relatively little is known about Io chemistry, but there are constraints. Further, it will be a long time before improvements will result from direct observation, given the severe difficulties with the Galileo mission. Via laboratory simulation experiments, plausible thermochemical and photochemical processes which determine the nature and amounts of surface constituents of Io are explored. The well-known density of Io shows that the planet overall is rocky. Because the orbit of Io is well within the magnetosphere of Jupiter and because Io only has a thin, transient SO2 atmosphere, the surface is continually sputtered with magnetospheric ions. Complex processes ionize and accelerate the Io surface atoms to keV and MeV energies. Remarkably, only S, O, and Na ions were found by Voyager. Sputtering also produces an atomic cloud of Na and S (O not observable) with a trace of K. Both gaseous and solid SO2 are known from spectroscopic studies. A trace of H2S and possibly CO2 are present. Geologic features are interpreted in terms of elemental S, but there is no direct evidence for this constituent. We thus have a rocky planet which does not have rocks on the surface. Our general goal is to understand the cycling of Na, S, and O through the crust and atmosphere on present-day Io and to understand how Io evolved to this state. A specific objective was to determine the phases on the surface which are the source of the Na in the atmosphere of Io.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Burnett, D. S.
(University of Southern California Pasadena, CA, United States)
Ellis, Susan B.
(University of Southern California Pasadena, CA, United States)
Rice, A.
(University of Southern California Pasadena, CA, United States)
Epstein, S.
(University of Southern California Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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