NASA’s spacecraft videos eruption on Jupiter’s Io (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
The video, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft, pictures a drama that unfolded more than 6.2 million km away from Earth back in 2007. NASA only made it public on Tuesday.
Some 400 active volcanoes are situated on Io and they produce plumes as high as 500 kilometers above Io’s surface. The latest eruption captured by the spacecraft saw plumes over 300 kilometers in height, according to NASA’s website.
The reason for the extreme volcanic activity on Io is that it’s “locked in a perpetual tug of war between the imposing gravity of Jupiter and the smaller, consistent pulls of its neighboring moons,” NASA explains.
As a result, Io’s orbit is distorted and it stretches. This causes friction and intense heat inside the moon, which in turn triggers eruptions across its surface.