Steve Smith: Jupiter's Consort.
Io has puzzled planetary scientists for years. Electric Universe advocates are not so mystified.
The Galileo spacecraft was launched October 18, 1989 aboard the Atlantis space shuttle. Just as the Cassini mission's images and data analysis are providing substantial evidence for the Electric Universe hypothesis, Galileo performed the same service while exploring Jupiter and its family of 63 known satellites.
Galileo's power supply consisted of twin Plutonium-238 reactors that used the heat from radioactive decay to power its instruments. On September 21, 2003 the spacecraft was incinerated when it was deliberately sent into Jupiter's vast maelstrom so that it would not contaminate any of the moons, especially Europa.
Since the two Voyager space probes discovered "surprising volcanic activity" on Io, plasma physicist Wal Thornhill predicted that the plumes erupting from the so-called "volcanic vents" would be hotter than any lava fields ever measured. His prediction was confirmed when it was found that the "caldera" around the vents exceeded temperatures of 2000 Celsius.
Io orbits close in to Jupiter, so intense electromagnetic radiation bombards its surface, removing approximately one ton per second in gases and other materials. Io acts like an electrical generator as it travels through Jupiter’s plasmasphere, inducing over 400,000 volts across its diameter at more than three million amperes. That tremendous current flows across its magnetic field into the electric environment of Jupiter.
The plumes seen erupting from Io are the result of cathode arcs, electrically etching the surface and blasting sulfur dioxide "snow" up to 150 kilometers into space.
As Thornhill predicted, the most active regions of electric discharge were found to be along the edges of so-called "lava lakes,” while the remainder of the dark umbras surrounding them were extremely cold. No volcanic vents were found. Instead, what was discovered is that the plumes move across Io, as illustrated by the Prometheus hot spot that moved more than 80 kilometers since it was first imaged by Voyager 2. Galileo mission specialists were shocked when they realized that the volcanic plumes also emit ultraviolet light, characteristic of electric arcs.
Electric discharges can accelerate material to high velocity, producing uniform trajectories that then deposit it at a uniform distance. This explains why there are rings around the various caldera. Cathode erosion of Io also provides a reason why the plumes seen highlighted against the black of space possess a filamentary structure, reminiscent of Birkeland currents that have been discussed many times in these pages.
The Tvashtar "volcano" near the north pole of Io, was seen by the New Horizons probe to be shooting a plume more than 290 kilometers above the surface. A NASA press release from that time reported that "...the remarkable filamentary structure in the Tvashtar plume is similar to details glimpsed faintly in 1979 Voyager images of a similar plume produced by Io's volcano Pele. However, no previous image by any spacecraft has shown these mysterious structures so clearly."
It appears that the electrical circuit on Io is concentrating Jupiter's current flow into several "plasma guns," or dense plasma foci, as noted plasma physicist Anthony Peratt observed more than twenty years ago. "Tidal kneading" of Io is not the cause of its heat: Io is not being heated from within by friction. The most probable cause, based on observational evidence and laboratory analysis, is that Io is receiving an electrical input from Jupiter that is heating it up through electromagnetic induction.