Possible flyby measurements of Galilean satellite interior structure

W. B. Hubbard, J. D. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Flyby encounters of the Galilean satellites from a Jupiter orbiter spacecraft could yield information about the second-degree gravity harmonics of these satellites. We have calculated the expected values of these harmonics for a range of plausible interior models in hydrostatic equilibrium. Because the satellites respond to comparable perturbations from rotation and tides, an independent test of hydrostatic equilibrium is feasible. For Io and Ganymede, the expected measurement accuracy from a nominal encounter should make possible an excellent discrimination from the ensemble of interior models. For Europa, a qualitative distinction between near-uniform and centrally condensed models seems feasible. Only for Callisto is the proposed experiment of marginal value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-341
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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