SciFi Q of the Day: Views from Io

converted PNM fileSciFi Question of the Day: If the space station is in orbit around Io, what would its views be like? What might be notable about that particular area of the solar system?

Facebook Answers

  Daniel Beard Let me see, it is in orbit (I am assuming a geostationary orbit, as opposed to a L-point) around a moon that likes to spray sulfur out of volcanoes, which is itself in orbit about the second largest body in our solar system (Jupiter, not Saturn), tidally locked, and with a orbital period of 42.5 hours (Damn, that’s quick). therefore Jupiter would always be in the same place in the sky, but you would be seeing pretty much the whole thing about every 2 Terran days.

  AmyBeth Fredricksen How much of the “sky” does Jupiter take up? Is it overwhelming? Or a round disk in the distance?

  Daniel Beard well, Io is about the same orbital distance (within about 10%) with Jupiter as the moon is to earth, and Jupiter is FRIGGING MASSIVE, so I am going with a commanding view of about one third of the sky.

  AmyBeth Fredricksen Thank you!

  AmyBeth Fredricksen I’ve seen videos of Jupiter’s surface moving and swirling. It that time-lapsed or would it visible to the naked eye?

  Daniel Beard I just would not like to be there looking at it. the radiation levels at Io are about 3600 rem’s per day. If I am reading the tables right, that is just over 3 times the guaranteed terminal dosage. would NOT want to be there.

  AmyBeth Fredricksen So my space station needs to have some really advanced shielding, and so do any vessels coming and going…

  Daniel Beard well, you have see photos of earth from the moon, Jupiter is 11,200 times larger. probably would be able to see the cloud cover move from the station.

Google Plus Answers  

  Laura Klein  Hmmm… thinking about the odd orbit of Io, and isn’t that the moon that has all kinds of crazy gravitational pulls churning the whole moon into a high volcano zone?  I would think Jupiter would take up the sky sometimes, and some of the other moons would be visible some of the time… and I’ll bet it would be a bumpy ride.

  AmyBeth Inverness  Not sure about gravity (other than it’s like a tenth of Earth) but it is very volcanic.

  Laura Klein  OK, found a NASA fact sheet… http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Jup_Io

  • So, if Io is the size of the earth’s moon, but only a fifth the distance of our moon from the Earth, I would imagine Jupiter would take up a large chunk of the sky.

    Ooh, that site is interesting.

    “Io’s orbit, keeping it at more or less a cozy 422,000 km (262,000 miles) from Jupiter, cuts across the planet’s powerful magnetic lines of force, thus turning Io into a electric generator. Io can develop 400,000 volts across itself and create an electric current of 3 million amperes. This current takes the path of least resistance along Jupiter’s magnetic field lines to the planet’s surface, creating lightning in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.”

    Eletricity everywhere!  And matter leaking off the planet to Jupiter.

      AmyBeth Inverness  Ooh! Great info! Thanks!

      Laura Klein  … and now instead of writing about Mars (my current project), I am looking at Jupiter’s moons.  (Not a bad thing).
      AmyBeth Inverness  I’ve also been playing with the Greek mythology around the moons. That’s why the space station is called “The Gadfly”
      Laura Klein  I like it!  I take it the researchers are doing something a little different than the norm?

    Oh, you probably saw this, but I was looking at images of Io.  http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/gallery.cfm?&Category=Planets&Object=Jup_Io&Page=1

      AmyBeth Inverness  Ooh! Purdy!
      Mince Walsh  I would think that the view of Jupiter would be daunting since it would fill the sky. Also the elipse of the orbit would be severely exaggerated due to the planetary pull. Your perspectives would be all whacked out depending on your position in orbit and sense of gravitational pull could vary slightly. It might take a bit of getting used to and some may have trouble with it. Now, the effect on a werewolf?

      AmyBeth Inverness  Werewolves? Hmmm…  good question… and believe it or not, the space station is inhabited by polyamorous zombies…

    I’ve seen videos of Jupiter’s surface moving and swirling. It that time-lapsed or would it visible to the naked eye?
      Keith J Davies  um… if you have remarkably sharp eyes, perhaps.  You mean through a telescope without other help?
      Charles Moore  Time lapsed. It moves fast, but Jupiter’s huge so it looks slow due to the scale.
      AmyBeth Inverness  Oops… sorry… this is a continuation of a previous question. In the story, there’s a space station orbiting Io.
      Laura Klein  That’s a good question… my first thought is that it would move as fast as Earth storms from above, but maybe not.  Hmm… back to NASA.  🙂
      Keith J Davies  or possibly faster.  Winds on the gas giants are, I understand, extremely fast.
      AmyBeth Inverness  Shoot. I need +michael interbartolo for this one.
      michael interbartolo  back in 2010 it was pretty close and The view through a telescope was excellent. Because Jupiter is so close, the planet’s disk can be seen in rare detail–and there is a lot to see. For instance, the Great Red Spot, a cyclone twice as wide as Earth, is bumping up against another storm called “Red Spot Jr.” The apparition of two planet-sized tempests grinding against one another must be seen to be believed. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/15sep_jupiter/
      Laura Klein  I think one of those little black spots is Io passing by.
      Laura Klein  My thought: The bigger storms would not appear to move very fast, but some of the smaller eddies might be visible as moving and changing from the perspective of Io… plus, Io’s orbit around Jupiter is only like, 42 hours.
    That moon is flying.

    SciFi Q of the Day

    I would love to hear what you think! Even if you are reading this post a year or more after publishing, I hope you will leave a comment with your own ideas on this topic.
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About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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One Response to SciFi Q of the Day: Views from Io

  1. Q: _____ isn’t possible with today’s technology. Give me your best plausible BS for how _____ is true.

    Q: Nicola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Michael Interbartolo and ____ are the reigning team for (Some contest… Legos? Jeopardy? Arm wrestling? Tetris while arm wrestling?) What team of fictional scientists (or science-minded people) can give them a run for their money?

    Oooh…. John Nash? And make them play poker?

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