The four largest satellites of Jupiter are referred to as the Galilean satellites, since they were first discovered by Galileo in 1610. These satellites are too small and too far from the Earth to study their surfaces in detail. The surfaces of Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto were first imaged at high resolution by the Voyager spacecraft in 1979 and 1980, and are being observed in greater detail by the Galileo spacecraft which will be in orbit around Jupiter until December of 1997. Using the techniques discussed in the previous section, we can examine geologic processes important on these bodies, and determine the relative ages of their surfaces. This technique of comparing newly-explored worlds to those with which we are more familiar is a common one in science.
It has heavily cratered regions, regions with fewer craters which also have cracks and grooves (implying tectonic activity), and regions which appear to have experienced resurfacing (like our Moon?).
Does this mean that some areas were recently active and some were not?
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Galileo Solid State Imaging Team Leader: Dr. Michael J. S. Belton
The SSI Education and Public Outreach webpages were originally created and managed by Matthew Fishburn and Elizabeth Alvarez with significant assistance from Kelly Bender, Ross Beyer, Detrick Branston, Stephanie Lyons, Eileen Ryan, and Nalin Samarasinha.
Last updated: September 17, 1999, by Matthew Fishburn
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