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Closeups of Io
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Closeups of Io

September 26, 2003
NASA's Galileo spacecraft acquired its highest resolution images of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io on July 3, 1999 during its closest pass by Io since it entered orbit around Jupiter in December 1995. This color mosaicuses the near-infrared, green and violet filters (slightly more than the visible range) of the spacecraft's camera, processed to enhance moresubtle color variations. Most of Io's surface has pastel colors, punctuated by black, brown, green, orange, and red areas near the active volcanic centers. The improved resolution reveals small-scale color areas which were not recognized previously and which suggest that the lava and sulfurous deposits are composed of complex mixtures (close-up A). Some of the bright, whitish, high-latitude (near the top and bottom) deposits have an ethereal quality like a transparent covering of frost (close-up B). Bright red areas were seen in previous images only as diffuse deposits.