37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 63 Galilean Satellites
Oral, Friday, September 9, 2005, 9:00-10:30am, Law LG19

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[63.04] The Four Galileans: Topographic Comparisons

P. Schenk (LPI)

With renewed interest in the Galilean System following the postponement of JIMO, the topographic characteristics of the 4 large Galilean satellites becomes important in terms of mission strategies and planning. This is especially true for Europa, where an orbiter may be targeted to search for surface tidal variations and radar may be desired to map subsurface structure. Intersatellite comparisions are useful to examine the relative roles of surface modification processes, including mass-wasting. Here I review our current state of knowledge of the topography and slope characteristics of the 4 Galilean satellites. Data coverage was severely limited by the Galileo antenna failure. Effective areal coverage is highly variable as a function of surface resolution, ranging from >50% for Io to less than 10% for Callisto. Preliminary analyses have already shown that all is not as once thought. Europa is much rougher than Mars on decameter scales, and has kilometer-scale topographic variations of up to 2 km. Short- and long-wavelength undulations on Europa will have to be accounted for in any tidal or subsurface analysis.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: schenk@lpi.usra.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.