New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: Jupiter’s moons are hot even after being far from the sun because of gravitational kneading, or tidal forces, from their giant planetary host, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters. In a process called tidal heating, Jupiter’s huge mass stretches and squishes the moons as they orbit, which creates friction and generates heat. As a result, some of the icy moons contain interiors warm enough to host oceans of liquid water, and in the case of the rocky moon Io, tidal heating melts rock into magma.

Earlier, several studies believed that only Jupiter was responsible for most of the tidal heating associated with the liquid interiors of the moons. But, a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters found that Jupiter is not only responsible for this heat, but the moon-moon interaction is also equally part of this process.

"It's surprising because the moons are so much smaller than Jupiter. You wouldn't expect them to be able to create such a large tidal response," news agency ANI quoted Hamish Hay, a postdoctoral fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California as saying.
To find out the moon evolution, it was essential for the researchers to understand how the moons influence each other is important. Jupiter has the four largest moons named Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, out of its 80 moons.

However, many researchers then tried to study the evolution of the moon system and the moon-moon interaction on Jupiter. "Maintaining subsurface oceans against freezing over geological times requires a fine balance between internal heating and heat loss, and yet we have several pieces of evidence that Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, and other moons should be ocean worlds," news agency ANI quoted co-author Antony Trinh, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Lunar and Planetary Lab.

"Io, the large moon closest to Jupiter, shows widespread volcanic activity, another consequence of tidal heating, but at a higher intensity likely experienced by other terrestrial planets, like Earth, in their early history. Ultimately, we want to understand the source of all this heat, both for its influence on the evolution and habitability of the many worlds across the solar system and beyond, he added"

Posted By: Srishti Goel