Scientists, including Brown University geologists and students, have completed the first global geological map of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon and the largest in the solar system.
An amazing time
Making the map of Ganymede was a long and complex task. Some of the scientists behind today’s announcement were graduate students and postdocs at Brown when the Galileo data began to arrive in the 1990s. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
With its varied terrain and possible underground ocean, Ganymede is considered a prime target in the search for habitable environments in the solar system, and the researchers hope this new map will aid in future exploration. The work, led by Geoffrey Collins, a Ph.D. graduate of Brown now a professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, took years to complete. The map was published today by the U.S. Geological Survey.
“It is very rewarding to see the results of all of our efforts here at Brown come together into this integrated global compilation that will now be used to plan the next phase of scientific exploration of the Galilean satellites,” said Jim Head, the Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown and one of the map’s co-authors.
The researchers combined images from the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft to put the map together. Voyager was the first mission to fly through the Jupiter satellite system and passed by the icy surface of Ganymede in 1979. Those first images revealed a complex surface, segmented and fractured into dark and light terrain. In 1995, the Galileo spacecraft was placed in orbit around Jupiter and began to return high-resolution images of the surface that help to understand many of the features seen at low-resolution by Voyager.
Head was a co-investigator on the Galileo’s Solid State Imaging (SSI) experiment. In that role, he and his team were responsible for planning the imaging sequences for Ganymede in order to identify and investigate the scientific targets of highest priority. The team worked for several years to obtain the data necessary to make the global map.
“This was an amazing time,” Head said. “Brown graduate and undergraduate students worked shoulder-to-shoulder in the Planetary Geosciences Laboratory in Lincoln Field Building, studying the newly acquired images and choosing new sites of scientific interest. The discoveries were daily and the adrenaline was surging as we rushed to collect our thoughts and plans, review them with the SSI Team, and get them uploaded to the spacecraft in time for the next encounter.”
Geoffrey Collins was one of the graduate students looking at the data as it came in from Galileo. Wes Patterson and Louise Prockter, now at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, also started work on the project as graduate students at Brown. Robert Pappalardo, now at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, was part of the team during postdoctoral studies at Brown.
“I’m so glad all that work has paid off in the form of this detailed global map,” Head said. “It is equally rewarding to see that the Brown team has now moved on to positions of leadership in the planetary exploration research community.”
Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.
Kevin Stacey | EurekAlert!
Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration
18.10.2017 | NASA/Johnson Space Center
Study shows how water could have flowed on 'cold and icy' ancient Mars
18.10.2017 | Brown University
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy