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Journal Articles Acta Astronautica Year : 2022

Geodetic investigations of the mission concept MAGIC to reveal Callisto's internal structure

Antonio Genova
David E. Smith
  • Function : Author
Robin Canup
  • Function : Author
Terry Hurford
  • Function : Author
Sander Goossens
  • Function : Author
Erwan Mazarico
  • Function : Author
Gregory A. Neumann
  • Function : Author
Maria T. Zuber
  • Function : Author
Francis Nimmo
Mark Wieczorek
Edward Bierhaus
  • Function : Author


Geodetic and geophysical investigations of the Galilean moon Callisto address fundamental questions regarding the formation and evolution of the Jovian system. Callisto's evolution and internal structure appear to significantly differ from the other Jovian satellites. Similarly-sized Ganymede is a highly evolved ice-rock moon with a differentiated interior, intrinsic magnetic field, and abundant surface evidence of internal activity. In contrast, Callisto's surface is ancient, and Galileo spacecraft data suggest its interior is only incompletely differentiated, despite the presumed presence of a sub-surface ocean. These properties make Callisto uniquely able to constrain the timing and nature of the Jovian system formation. The Magnetics, Altimetry, Gravity, and Imaging of Callisto (MAGIC) mission concept is conceived to fully characterize the properties of this enigmatic moon from its deep interior to the icy shell. Three main instruments are included as a scientific payload. Highly accurate measurements of Callisto's topography, magnetic field, and morphology are obtained by the onboard laser altimeter, magnetometer, and camera, respectively. The telecommunication system supports an additional gravity and radio science investigation. Long- and short-wavelength gravity anomalies afford powerful constraints on internal differentiation and the properties of the hydrosphere (water and ice). Comprehensive numerical simulations and covariance analyses of MAGIC mission scenarios presented in this paper show that the gravitational degree-2 normalized coefficients and the pole obliquity enable the determination of the moment of inertia with an accuracy better than 0.015%. The combination of gravity and altimetry measurements acquired by MAGIC are essential to the characterization of Callisto's interior if - as is likely - the degree-2 gravity includes non-hydrostatic terms. MAGIC's radio science data yield the estimation of Callisto's gravity field with spatial resolutions of <100 km. The combination of gravitational and deformation tides that are retrieved by the radio science and altimetry investigations, respectively, leads to the recovery of the rigid ice shell thickness to within ∼3 km. Together these datasets would resolve ambiguities inherent in Galileo flyby data, revealing Callisto's interior structure as well as the existence and properties of its postulated internal ocean.
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Dates and versions

insu-03656891 , version 1 (02-05-2022)



Antonio Genova, David E. Smith, Robin Canup, Terry Hurford, Sander Goossens, et al.. Geodetic investigations of the mission concept MAGIC to reveal Callisto's internal structure. Acta Astronautica, 2022, 195, pp.68-76. ⟨10.1016/j.actaastro.2022.02.013⟩. ⟨insu-03656891⟩
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