Jupiter’s magnetosphere knocking molecules from ice on surface of Callisto does not explain amount of atmospheric oxygen

Jupiter's magnetosphere knocking molecules from ice on surface of Callisto does not explain amount of atmospheric ice
Scientists simulate thermal, energetic parts of Jovian magnetospheric plasma irradiating Callisto’s environment Differential quantity flux spectra for (a) protons, (b) oxygen ions, (c) sulfur ions, and (d) electrons close to Callisto’s orbit. Curves illustrate suits for the (yellow) thermal and (blue) energetic plasma. Orange curves for electrons signify the transition from thermal to energetic regime. Purple and inexperienced factors denote observations of every inhabitants from Juno whereas positioned close to Callisto’s orbital place. The black dashed line in every panel illustrates the sum of the differential ion fluxes over all ion species. Credit score: Journal of Geophysical Analysis: Planets (2023). DOI: 10.1029/2023JE007894

A staff of scientists affiliated with a number of establishments within the U.S. has examined a idea created to clarify the quantity of oxygen within the environment of Callisto, one in every of Jupiter’s moons, and has discovered that it falls brief. Of their paper printed in Journal of Geophysical Analysis: Planets, the group describes how they examined the idea and different attainable avenues of analysis.

Callisto is second in measurement to Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. It is usually probably the most closely cratered. Callisto has turn out to be the article of extra scrutiny lately because of the unexplained great amount of oxygen in its environment.

Prior analysis has recommended that Callisto has a thick crust beneath which can lie an ocean, however its composition continues to be not clear—it may be crust with some ice, or largely ice. It has additionally been recognized for a while that Callisto’s environment has a excessive proportion of oxygen. What has remained a thriller is how that oxygen obtained there, and why it persists. One major idea to clarify its presence is that Jupiter’s highly effective magnetosphere could also be knocking unfastened molecules of hydrogen, water and oxygen from the ice on Callisto’s floor. On this new effort, the researchers examined that idea.

The work concerned simulating the thermal and energetic parts of Jupiter’s magnetosphere—particularly its plasma—and estimating the power that might make it to Callisto’s environment and floor. Subsequent, they calculated the quantity of oxygen that that needs to be launched based mostly on that quantity of publicity. They then in contrast the quantity of oxygen that needs to be in Callisto’s environment (based mostly on their calculations) with the quantity that’s truly there and located an enormous discrepancy. There was far more oxygen within the environment than might be defined by the affect of Jupiter’s magnetosphere—by two or three orders of magnitude.

That leaves the origin of the oxygen a whole thriller. The analysis staff means that extra may be realized from upcoming missions such because the ESA’s JUICE and NASAs Europa Clipper.

Extra info:
Shane R. Carberry Mogan et al, Callisto’s Ambiance: The Oxygen Enigma, Journal of Geophysical Analysis: Planets (2023). DOI: 10.1029/2023JE007894

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