March 23, 2023
Jupiter’s moon Io is the best place to understand a fundamental planetary process that shaped terrestrial planets, icy ocean worlds, and extrasolar planets: tidal heating. Io is the most tidally heated world in our Solar System and may contain a magma ocean. Io’s spectacular volcanic plumes sustain the atmosphere and feed the giant magnetosphere of the Jovian system. The lavas covering its surface reflect heatpipe tectonics, which is analogous to the volcanically hyperactive youth of all rocky planets. Io is the ideal planetscale laboratory to study the intertwined processes of tidal forcing, extreme volcanism, and atmosphere–magnetosphere interactions. This issue of Elements will review our knowledge of Io, emphasizing on its composition, interior dynamics, and surface processes. We will also share perspectives for future missions.
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