Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chlorine Discovery Near Jupiter Moon Hints At Salt Presence On Surface

Date:
June 4, 1999
Source:
University Of Colorado At Boulder
Summary:
The recent discovery of chlorine above Io, a moon of Jupiter, indicates the odd object may hold common table salt, according to two University of Colorado at Boulder scientists.

The recent discovery of chlorine above Io, a moon of Jupiter, indicates the odd object may hold common table salt, according to two University of Colorado at Boulder scientists.

Related Articles


Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Nick Schneider and former post-doctoral researcher Michael Kueppers of CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. They believe the presence of chlorine – an ingredient of sodium chloride, or common table salt – is related to the violent volcanic activity.

"In fact, Io seems to have a higher proportion of chlorine in its atmosphere than any other object in the solar system," said Schneider.

"The huge volcanoes on Io are similar to giant geysers, spewing material hundreds of miles into the atmosphere, said Schneider. The two researchers used a telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona to make their findings, including the discovery of chlorine emissions in the doughnut-shaped ring of charged particles surrounding Jupiter known as the Io torus.

The Io torus, which is five times larger than Jupiter, glows with a power greater than all the electricity generated on Earth, he said.

Prior to the discovery of chlorine, the only elements observed escaping from Io’s atmosphere were sulfur, oxygen, sodium and potassium.

The most common inorganic compounds of chlorine are sodium chloride, which is ordinary table salt, and hydrogen chloride, a colorless gas that is emitted from the volcanoes, said Schneider.

"It’s not yet clear how salt would form on Io," said Schneider. "Unlike Earth, Io has no oceans that could evaporate and leave behind salt deposits. But it is possible that underground rivers or aquifers fuel Io’s volcanoes and may carry dissolved salt. Salt also could be made by chemical reactions in Io’s atmosphere."

A paper on the subject was presented by Schneider and Kueppers at the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union held in Boston June 1 through June 4. Kueppers is currently at the University of Berne in Switzerland.

The recently discovered chlorine may be emitted by Io’s volcanoes or may come from the breakup of salt on Io’s surface by charged particles in the torus that constantly bombard the surface of the moon.

The discovery also has implications for the chemistry of Io’s atmosphere, he said. On Earth, relatively small amounts of chlorine from human-made CFC’s play a major role in breaking down fragile molecules like ozone in the atmosphere.

"My guess is that we won’t find any ozone on Io," said Schneider, noting the proportion of chlorine in Io’s atmosphere is a billion times greater than that on Earth.

"Chemical reactions may actually produce salt in the atmosphere," he said. "The study of chlorine on Io is sure to benefit from the extensive research on Earth’s ozone hole, which in turn benefited from the study of chlorine in the atmospheres of other planets."

Kitt Peak National Observatory is one of four divisions of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under cooperative agreement with NSF.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Colorado At Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Colorado At Boulder. "Chlorine Discovery Near Jupiter Moon Hints At Salt Presence On Surface." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990604081535.htm>.
University Of Colorado At Boulder. (1999, June 4). Chlorine Discovery Near Jupiter Moon Hints At Salt Presence On Surface. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990604081535.htm
University Of Colorado At Boulder. "Chlorine Discovery Near Jupiter Moon Hints At Salt Presence On Surface." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990604081535.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) — Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) — Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — NASA&apos;s New Horizons probe is en route to snap a picture of Pluto this summer, but making sure it doesn&apos;t miss its one chance to do so starts now. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins