STUDENT INSTRUCTION AND ANSWER
Activity 7: Do We See the
Signs of Life on Io?
The image on the right is a false color infrared image of the surface of Io, a moon of Jupiter, taken by the Galileo satellite. For this false color image, a lighter color was used to indicate a stronger emission of infrared light. The comparison image on the left (from 1979 Voyager measurements) shows the same view of Io as seen in visible light.
A. What information is the false color infrared image telling us about the moon Io? Explain your reasoning.
B. Describe how the colors are used in the false color image to display the range of values for the feature that you identified in question A.
C. Which of the following features are being identified on the surface of Io by the labels in this infrared image: glaciers, hot spots and geysers, icebergs, volcanoes, or lakes? Explain your reasoning.
D. Do the features shown on the false color images appear to correspond with the image on the left? Explain why or why not.
E. What does the information on the false color image suggest about the prospect for the existence of life on Io? Explain your reasoning.
The following image on the right is a false color image of Io's surface that was created using data from the on board spectrometer on the Galileo satellite. The comparison image on the left from 1979 Voyager measurements shows the same view of Io as seen in visible light. Sulfur dioxide (SO2), normally a gas at room temperature, is known to exist on Io's surface as a frost, condensing there from the hot gases emanating from the Io volcanoes and hot spots. The false-color image uses the colors white, shades of blue, and black to identify different concentrations of SO2 frost.
F. Sketch the line spectra that the Galileo satellite detected to make this false color image.
G. Compare this false color SO2 frost distribution image to the first false color infrared image of Io. Identify the volcano Pele on the infrared image. Would you expect to find high or low concentrations of SO2 frost in the Pele region of Io? Explain your reasoning.
H. Which color of the SO2 frost distribution image do you think represents the highest concentration of SO 2 frost? Which color do you think represents the lowest concentration? Explain your reasoning.
I. This false color image shows that the surface of Io has a large amount of SO2 frost. What does this data suggest about the prospect of life on Io?