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November 21 2012

Jupiter's Io --Is the Volcanic Epicenter of the Solar System a Hotspot for Life?


Io, the innermost of Jupiter's large satellites and the most volcanically active body in the solar system, with plumes of matter rising up to 186 miles (300 km) above the surface, is considered a prime candidate as a hotspot for extreme extraterrestrial life.

In the image above Two sulfurous eruptions are visible on Io from the robotic Galileo spacecraft that orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003. At the image top, over Io's limb, a bluish plume rises about 140 kilometers above the surface of a volcanic caldera known as Pillan Patera.

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