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Galileo flies through volcanic plume above Io
Posted: Fri, Oct 5, 2001, 3:17 PM ET (1917 GMT)
Infrared map of Io (NASA/JPL) NASA's Galileo spacecraft flew through the tenuous plume of a previously-unknown volcano on the Jovian moon Io earlier this year, scientists reported Thursday. Analysis of data from Galileo's plasma science experiment collected during an August 6 flyby of the moon turned up evidence of particles from a volcano not known to exist prior to the flyby. Scientists had thought it likely that Galileo would be able to detect the plume from a known active volcano, Tvashtar, but Galileo instead detected the plume from the new volcano, 600 kilometers from Tvashtar. The location of the new volcano was pinpointed using infrared images taken during the flyby. The plume itself was estimated to be at least 500 km high, which would make it 10 percent taller than any previous plume. "Galileo smelled the volcano's strong breath and survived," said Louis Frank, head of Galileo's plasma science experiment. Galileo is scheduled to perform another close flyby of Io on October 16.
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