Argus: An Io observer mission concept study from the 2014 NASA/JPL Planetary Science Summer School

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Christina Holstein-Rathlou1, Lindsay E Hays2, Patricio Becerra3, Ko Basu4, Byron Davis5, Valerie Kristen Fox6, Jonathan F.C. Herman7, Andrea C.G. Hughes8, James Tuttle Keane3, Emma Marcucci9, Eugina Mendez-Ramos10, Adam Nelessen10, Marc Neveu11, Nathan L. Parrish7, Aaron L Scheinberg12 and Joanthan S. Wrobel13, (1)Boston University, Center for Space Physics, Boston, MA, United States, (2)NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, United States, (3)University of Arizona, Lunar & Planetary Laboratory, Department of Planetary Science, Tucson, AZ, United States, (4)Penn State University, Aerospace Engineering, University Park, PA, United States, (5)Georgia Institute of Technology, Space Systems Design Laboratory, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Atlanta, GA, United States, (6)Washington University, St Louis, MO, United States, (7)University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, Boulder, CO, United States, (8)Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, United States, (9)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (10)Georgia Institute of Technology, Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, Department of Aerospace Science, Atlanta, GA, United States, (11)Arizona State University, School of Earth & Space Exploration, Tempe, AZ, United States, (12)MIT, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, Cambridge, MA, United States, (13)JW Research & Design, LLC., Boulder, CO, United States
Jupiter’s satellite Io represents the ideal target for studying extreme tidal heating and volcanism, two of the most important processes in the formation and evolution of planetary bodies. The 2011 Planetary Decadal Survey identified an Io Observer as a high-priority New Frontiers class mission to be considered for the decade 2013-2022. In response to the 2009 New Frontiers Announcement of Opportunity, we propose a mission concept for an Io Observer mission, named Argus (after the mythical watchman of Io), developed by the students of the August 2014 session of the Planetary Science Summer School hosted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, together with JPL’s Team X. The goals of our mission are: (i) Study the effects of tidal heating and its implications for habitability in the Solar System and beyond; (ii) Investigate active lava flows on Io as an analog for early Earth; (iii) Analyze the interaction of Io with the Jovian system through material exchange and magnetospheric activity; (iv) Study the internal structure of Io, as well as its chemical and tectonic history in order to gain insight into its formation and that of the other Galilean satellites.