Detail View: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Collection: Galilean Moon Interiors

Title: 
Galilean Moon Interiors
Creator: 
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Description: 
This artist's concept shows cross-sections of the four largest moons of Jupiter, with the interior structures based on the latest information sent back by NASA's Galileo spacecraft. The moons depicted are (clockwise from bottom right) Callisto, Ganymede, Io and Europa. Scientists have modified their concept of Callisto's interior, based on the most recent Galileo findings. Whereas previously they believed that Callisto was completely undifferentiated, with a uniform mixture of rock and ice, scientists now say the interior has some separation of the ice and rock, but not nearly as much as the other three moons. Galileo data indicate that Ganymede is separated into a metallic core, rock mantle, and ice-rich outer shell, while Io has a metallic core and rock mantle, but no ice. Galileo data has also helped scientists refine their model of Europa's structure. They believe Europa has a metallic core surrounded by a rock mantle and a water ice-liquid outer shell. The core may be up to half the size of Europa's radius, with the water ice-liquid shell estimated to be between 80 to 170 kilometers thick (50 to 106 miles), with 100 kilometers (62 miles) considered the most likely thickness. Information on the interior structure of the four moons was obtained by studying radio Doppler data that is gathered when Galileo flies by the satellites. Each moon exerts a gravitational tug, but the tug's strength is determined by how much rock is contained within the moon (the higher the rock content, the stronger the tug). The tug changes the spacecraft's speed and the radio frequency of its signals. Scientists study those changes to determine the rock content and structure of the moon. This material was presented to the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego, CA on June 4, 1998. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the Galileo mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL is a division of California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This image, along with other images and data received from Galileo, is available on the Galileo mission home page at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo. Background information and educational context for the images can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/sepo . #####
Date: 
6/4/98
Identifier: 
P-48754
MediaType: 
Image
Year: 
1998
Contributor: 
JPL Archives
What: 
Galileo
What: 
Io
What: 
Callisto
What: 
Ganymede
What: 
Europa
What: 
Moon
Where: 
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Where: 
California