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!
Astronomers discover dizzying spin of the Milky Way galaxy's 'halo'
26.07.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Lonely Atoms, Happily Reunited
26.07.2016 | Technische Universität Wien
Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.
To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...
A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology
On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.
While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.
Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.
Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...
Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases
Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...
15.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
11.07.2016 | Event News
28.07.2016 | Information Technology
28.07.2016 | Materials Sciences
28.07.2016 | Earth Sciences