Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First global geologic map of Jupiter's largest moon Ganymede details an icy world

Date:
February 12, 2014
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Summary:
More than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo, the largest moon in the solar system has finally claimed a spot on the map. A team of scientists has produced the first global geologic map of Ganymede, a Galilean moon of Jupiter. The map technically illustrates the varied geologic character of Ganymede's surface, and is the first complete global geologic map of an icy, outer-planet moon.

To present the best information in a single view of Jupiter's moon Ganymede, a global image mosaic was assembled, incorporating the best available imagery from Voyagers 1 and 2 and Galileo spacecraft. This image shows Ganymede centered at 200 west longitude. This mosaic (right) served as the base map for the geologic map of Ganymede (left).
Credit: USGS

More than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo, the largest moon in the solar system has finally claimed a spot on the map.

A team of scientists led by Wes Patterson of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., and Geoffrey Collins of Wheaton College, Norton, Mass., has produced the first global geologic map of Ganymede, a Galilean moon of Jupiter. Published by the U.S. Geological Survey, the map technically illustrates the varied geologic character of Ganymede's surface, and is the first complete global geologic map of an icy, outer-planet moon.

Patterson, Collins and colleagues used images from NASA's Voyager and Galileo missions to create the map. It's only the fourth of its kind covering a planetary satellite; similar maps exist for Earth's moon as well as Jupiter's moons Io and Callisto.

"By mapping all of Ganymede's surface, we can more accurately address scientific questions regarding the formation and evolution of this truly unique moon," says Patterson, a planetary scientist.

Since its discovery in January 1610, Ganymede has been the focus of repeated observation, first by Earth-based telescopes, and later by flyby missions and spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. These studies depict a complex icy world whose surface is characterized by the striking contrast between its two major terrain types: the dark, very old, highly cratered regions; and the lighter, somewhat younger (but still ancient) regions marked with an extensive array of grooves and ridges.  

With a diameter of 3,280 miles (5,262 kilometers), Ganymede is larger than both planet Mercury and dwarf planet Pluto. It's also the only satellite in the solar system known to have its own magnetosphere. The map details geologic features of the moon that formed and evolved over much of our solar system's history. These features record evidence of Ganymede's internal evolution, its dynamical interactions with the other Galilean satellites, and the evolution of the small bodies that have impacted Ganymede's surface.

The new chart will be a valuable tool for researchers to compare the geologic characters of other icy moons, since almost any type of feature that is found on other icy satellites has a similar feature somewhere on Ganymede. And with a surface over half as large as all the land area on Earth, Ganymede offers a wide variety of locations to observe. "Ganymede also shows features that are ancient alongside much more recently formed features, adding historical diversity in addition to geographic diversity," Collins says.

Along with Collins and Patterson, the Ganymede mapping team also includes Louise Prockter of APL; James Head, Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Robert Pappalardo, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Baerbel Lucchitta, USGS, Flagstaff, Ariz.; and Jonathan Kay, University of Idaho. NASA funded the project through its Outer Planets Research and Planetary Geology and Geophysics programs.

The map is available for download at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3237/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "First global geologic map of Jupiter's largest moon Ganymede details an icy world." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212144524.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. (2014, February 12). First global geologic map of Jupiter's largest moon Ganymede details an icy world. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212144524.htm
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "First global geologic map of Jupiter's largest moon Ganymede details an icy world." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212144524.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? 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:
from the past week

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