37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 61 Planetary Rings
Poster, Thursday, September 8, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[61.18] Material Transport Between the Galilean Satellites

D.B. Zeehandelaar, D.P. Hamilton (Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland)

Energetic impacts into the Galilean satellites can eject debris into circumjovian orbits, but where does this material ultimately go? Large particles should be scattered around the jovian system by the gravitational forces from Jupiter and its satellites, while smaller micron-sized grains are also perturbed by strong non-gravitational forces, including electromagnetism and radiation pressure. If grains can be transferred efficiently from one satellite to another, this transport process might deliver exotic compounds to satellite surfaces (e.g. sulfur from Io), and may also alter surface characteristics such as composition, roughness, and albedo.

To determine the efficiency of material transport between satellites, we have numerically integrated the orbits of tens of thousands of dust grains launched radially from the surfaces of the Galilean satellites. We find that mass transfer occurs for both large ejecta (which are dominated by gravity) and even more easily for small ejecta (for which non-gravitational forces are important). We find transitions take place between satellites both interior and exterior to the source body, although the former occur more readily. Our integrations show that roughly 80-95% of gravitationally-dominated ejecta return to the source while the bulk of the remaining material is transferred to the neighboring satellites. In addition, many of the dust grains are driven to high eccentricities by radiation pressure and lost to Jupiter. We have investigated the transfer efficiency as a function of ejection speed, grain size, and source location on the satellite surfaces and will report on these results.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
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