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Conceptual Questions


Suppose a satellite has a diameter of 800 km and an orbit that lies nearly in the equatorial plane of its parent planet well outside of the planet's ring system. Is the satellite likely to be a regular satellite, a collision fragment, or a captured asteroid?

What properties of a satellite would suggest that it may be a captured asteroid?

How did the Voyager, Viking, and Galileo spacecraft measure the masses of satellites?

What is the reason that an icy satellite has less radioactive heating than a rocky satellite does?

Under what conditions is tidal heating likely to be important for a satellite?

The density of Io is 3600 kg/m3 while that of Callisto is 1900 kg/m3. What do these densities tell us about the relative amounts of rock and ice in Io and Callisto?

What evidence is there that the surface of Io is very young?

What powers the internal activity of Io?

The surface of Europa is smooth and relatively craterfree, yet it lacks volcanos to deposit fresh material on the surface. What are possible reasons why Europa's surface is so smooth?

What is a possible explanation for the different types of terrain seen on Ganymede.

What evidence is there that the satellites of Saturn once had internal activity?

Iapetus always appears brighter when it is about to pass behind Saturn than when it reappears from behind Saturn. Draw a diagram to show that this effect is related to the distribution of dark and bright regions on the surface of Iapetus.

Compare the atmosphere of Titan to that of Earth with respect to composition, pressure, and temperature.

What is the reason that the atmospheric temperature of Titan increases with increasing altitude at heights above 45 km?

Why is Titan orange?

Write a description of what you would see if you visited the surface of Titan.

Compare the images of Miranda with those of the other satellites shown in this chapter. Find a satellite with surface features similar to the coronae of Miranda. Find a satellite with a surface that resembles the rolling, cratered terrain of Miranda.

Both the Moon and Triton raise tidal bulges on the planet they orbit. Why does the tidal bulge on Neptune cause Triton to spiral inward while the tidal bulge on the Earth causes the Moon to spiral outward?

What is believed to be the origin of the dark streaks on the surface of Triton?

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