Captain Io

That you know Justin Bieber but you don’t know Linda Morabito is a crying shame. Morabito is the first person to ever have noticed geological activity on a body outside of the Earth. Her discovery led to the realization that the Earth is not indeed the most geologically active body in our own solar system.

That’s what I said: The most geologically active object in the solar system isn’t Earth. It’s not even a planet.

It’s Io, one of Jupiter’s Galilean moons.

Io is the closest of Jupiter’s satellites and therefore is affected by tidal forces caused by Jupiter’s massive gravitational power and “orbital resonance” with its larger moon friends Europa and Ganymede.

We’ve known that Io existed since January 7, 1610, when it was discovered by Galileo. But we’ve only known it has volcanoes since 1979, when Morabito looked at pictures of the moon and saw this enormous plume. Nobody else was really looking at the moons because they were busy with Jupiter, but as it turns out, Jupiter’s moons are, how you say, KICK-ASS.

That was the first discovery ever of volcanic activity anywhere in the universe besides Earth.

I love science.

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