A Map of Io
March 20, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

The United Stated Geological Survey has finished a six-year effort to map the surface of Jupiter's moon Io.

The map compiles data gathered with Voyager 1, Voyager 2, the Hubble Space Telescope, Galileo, Cassini, and New Horizons.
posted by Quonab (33 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Okay, Scientists. Time to stop publishing the results of your research as posters and paper-bound reports. 99.999% of the people who read your work won't be doing so on a dead tree.

Get with the program and publish your results in hypertext; the WWW was literally invented for you guys, for this exact purpose. Time to start using it. It's a cruel irony that the initial proponents of hypertext are among the very last to properly adopt it...

</rant>
posted by schmod at 1:40 PM on March 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Io is my personal favorite celestial body in the solar system (doesn't everyone have one?!)...it's the pimple moon. Suprised that the topography is static enough to map given all the volcanic activity. This is great...thanks!
posted by Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific at 1:40 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, nice -- but isn't the moon so geologically active that it is essentially resurfaced in fairly short order? So... how long is this map good for?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:57 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awesome. How long before we can start mining titanium ore and then send Sean Connery to the mining outpost to kick some ass?
posted by The World Famous at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Io is my personal favorite celestial body in the solar system (doesn't everyone have one?!)

Toss up between Europa and Titan. Possible under-the-ice life vs. lakes made with farts. Hard to choose.
posted by bondcliff at 2:00 PM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ohhhh Shit. I didn't even know the US owned Jupiter.

Eat that, Russia!
posted by karathrace at 2:01 PM on March 20, 2012


United Stated, eh? ;-)
posted by pyrex at 2:02 PM on March 20, 2012


Proof that bureaucracies never die -- we've run out of United States to do surveying on, so instead of disbanding, the US Geological Survey starts working on other planets instead.

I'm sure there may be uses for this sort of data, but why does this department even still exist? Shouldn't it be under NASA?
posted by Malor at 2:05 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


We should be fine, as long as they attempt no landings.
posted by DU at 2:06 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


United Stated, eh? ;-)

It was my first post. It's mandatory that it be embarassing.
posted by Quonab at 2:07 PM on March 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


(and, yes, I'm being a bit facetious here, I realize there's still need for surveyors -- but fer chrissake, if they're off mapping other planets (well, okay, a gigantic moon), where the heck is that budget money coming from? Is it being properly accounted for?)
posted by Malor at 2:07 PM on March 20, 2012


The press release says "Prepared for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration". I would assume that the money came from NASA's budget.
posted by Quonab at 2:12 PM on March 20, 2012


Neat!

And it does make some kind of sense that the USGS would do this rather than NASA directly. Presumably they have a lot more people there who are good at map-making and so on.

(Though it is amusing this results in "Department of the Interior" being stamped on it. The interior of what? The universe?)
posted by FishBike at 2:17 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


we've run out of United States to do surveying on

Pretty sure we haven't. There's UNDER the US and caves and changing altitudes from upthrust and volcanic action and offshore areas and maps to make and etc etc.

The more I think about it, the more your question sounds like "why are we wasting money studying volcanoes?"
posted by DU at 2:34 PM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


This reminds of the USGS map of Mars. I had a copy of an earlier version of this map, or maybe a National Geographic map, when I was about eight years old and it was so fantastic. Mars was an actual place, with a map, just like the maps of Earth I was studying in school. Kim Stanley Robinson later picked up this sense of geography (er, areography) in his Red Mars trilogy, giving all the events in his space opera location. Also the Traveller's Guide to Mars is a fun geographically oriented tour of Mars.

Io is a whole different thing. It's a hell of a lot further away, and it's significantly more volatile terrain. I imagine the main use of this geography work will be to allow comparison in 10, 50, 100 years.

I'm disappointed to see such short-sighted "why are we spending money on this" questions on Metafilter. NASA did a bunch of surveys of Io. USGS took the data, rectified it, and published a proper map. It's what scientists and geographers do. The map budget was presumably significantly smaller than the spacecraft, launch, and sensor data collection. Or are we questioning all space exploration today?
posted by Nelson at 2:38 PM on March 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


we've run out of United States to do surveying on

On the contrary, maps and data generated decades ago are constantly being reviewed, updated, and corrected. I have a friend who has been working on a project updating seismic features on quadrangles for the last couple of years.
posted by Big_B at 3:14 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, Scientists. Time to stop publishing the results of your research as posters and paper-bound reports. 99.999% of the people who read your work won't be doing so on a dead tree.

Get with the program and publish your results in hypertext; the WWW was literally invented for you guys, for this exact purpose. Time to start using it. It's a cruel irony that the initial proponents of hypertext are among the very last to properly adopt it...


I think a little bit of this has to do with the static nature of things like posters and reports. They never change. If I reference a journal article someone can easily go and look it up and they will read exactly what I read. The web has a dynamic feel and information can be changed so easily that the referencing case has always been problematic. I am not in academia, this is just my gut reaction. However many of the research articles I do read lately have all been pdf copies. One of the professional organizations I belong too just switched over to digital, and they output their journal via email with links to pdfs of the articles.
posted by Big_B at 3:22 PM on March 20, 2012


DU: "The more I think about it, the more your question sounds like "why are we wasting money studying volcanoes?""

Airplanes crash when they fly through ash clouds. Ash clouds are difficult to detect remotely.

Airplanes are expensive, and volcano research is surprisingly cheap and effective. It's a good trade.
posted by schmod at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2012


I don't think DU is doubting the usefulness of studying volcanoes. I think he's reminding us that Bobby Jindal is a fool.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:25 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


One cool feature of the map is that it has a link to the gazetteer of planetary nomenclature, which, in itself, provides a ton of cool info.
And yes, they used a god of fire/god of thunder from just about every culture in naming the volcanoes on Io. pretty sweet.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:07 PM on March 20, 2012


Is somebody bad mouthing the USGS? Please don't bad mouth the USGS. They made my topo maps and I love my topo maps. I like them on the Internet, but I really like them on paper. I have covered an entire wall of my little office with 1:50,000 scale topo maps - what we call county topos. Six whole counties worth. I can see my entire region at a glance, or step up with my magnifying glass and judge the steepness of any little blue creek where I might want to stroll. I cannot yet afford to cover my entire wall with the Internet. And when I stroll, I take my 7-1/2 minute topos.

And now, I can see Io on the Internet. Can I get this on paper too?
posted by tommyD at 5:22 PM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


since no one has done it yet:
CARTOGRAPHERS... IN... SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!
posted by XMLicious at 6:11 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Its only a matter of time now before the google street car drives by the all the major neighborhoods.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:23 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


And whiteys on Jupiter's moon.
posted by punkfloyd at 7:12 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Proof that bureaucracies never die -- we've run out of United States to do surveying on, so instead of disbanding, the US Geological Survey starts working on other planets instead.

I'm sure there may be uses for this sort of data, but why does this department even still exist? Shouldn't it be under NASA?


Most agencies are capable of doing more than one thing at time. They usually divide up tasks into what is known as departments or divisions, which focus on a particular subject. So yes, 8 employees of the 80 member Astrogeology Science Center (department of the 8,000+ member USGS) created maps of Io, while the rest of the USGS are studying " the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it."

NASA's responsibilities deal with space and aeronautics. Not sure why you think they should be doing topographical maps. Sounds like they were smart and went to the US government's topographical experts to make the maps. No idea why you'd want NASA to spend money to duplicate that ASC's expertise. Especially since ASC was created in 1963 to help NASA with lunar geography.

but fer chrissake, if they're off mapping other planets (well, okay, a gigantic moon), where the heck is that budget money coming from? Is it being properly accounted for?)

As a US citizen, I'm not worrying too much about the $1.1 billion dollar annual budget of the USGS. While I'm sure mis-spending could found, there are bigger fish to fry in terms of government waste.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Proof that bureaucracies never die -- we've run out of United States to do surveying on, so instead of disbanding, the US Geological Survey starts working on other planets instead.

I'm sure there may be uses for this sort of data, but why does this department even still exist? Shouldn't it be under NASA?
posted by Malor at 2:05 PM on March 20


I'm sorry, but this truly enrages me. I had to leave the room and come back later to edit this comment down to something civil. Just once in my life, I'd like to see a news article even vaguely related to NASA that doesn't have some similar comment below it "Hurf durf I want my taxes back." NASA now takes less than a half a penny of each tax dollar USA collects.

Please tell me Malor you spent five minutes actually educating yourself on what USGS does before you accused an entire class of federal servants of being either slothful or thieving? If not, go sit in the corner next to "Commerce, Education, and uhh..." Rick Perry.
posted by newdaddy at 7:54 PM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sure there may be uses for this sort of data, but why does this department even still exist? Shouldn't it be under NASA?

1) If you think the world is static, then the USGS might be done mapping it.

2) The USGS has built an extensive base of expertise and toolsets for mapping. NASA had a bunch of imagery that could be used to generate a map.

So, NASA outsourced the work, for pay, to the USGS.

Jesus Christ, Malor, they're doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Instead of spending millions developing their own mapping talent and toolset, they had another agency do the work -- an agency that would be able to do so at a far lower cost than NASA itself.

They're doing the exact correct thing to fight government "waste", and you're still bitching at them about it?????

Oh, wait, I know -- this is the Government is Always Wrong argument. If NASA had built up its own mapping department, you'd be bitching because the Government already has several, and it's a waste for them to do the same. If they didn't, you bitch at the USGS for taking on work that belongs to NASA.
posted by eriko at 5:50 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


we've run out of United States to do surveying on, so instead of disbanding, the US Geological Survey starts working on other planets instead.

Good old Malor. Always on the watch for the billionaires who need another tax cut.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:21 AM on March 21, 2012


Most formal and informal academic publications are now primarily electronic, with datasets and pre-publication drafts promiscuously shared over social networks. The second link even offers you the dataset. The poster PDF just introduces the dataset, which is the real meat of the project.

There's actually a fair bit of cooperation between the USGS and NASA. The USGS has expertise in combining remote-sensing data as geographical datasets, while NASA has the expertise in building and maintaining remote-sensing systems.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:02 AM on March 21, 2012


Since I officially crossed the line into axe-grinding earlier in the thread, I may as well go full in. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson made an appeal to increase NASA's funding to a full penny per federal tax dollar. You can show your support, if you care to, by signing this petition.
posted by newdaddy at 7:56 AM on March 21, 2012




gwint, are you fetching those images from the user's hard disk? Mine looks like Unicron.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 4:28 PM on March 21, 2012


Well, I wasn't going to say anything, but everyone sees... what they most desire.
posted by gwint at 4:45 PM on March 21, 2012


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