Three-Dimensional Modeling of Callisto's Surface Sputtered Exosphere Environment

Audrey Vorburger*, Martin Pfleger, Jesper Lindkvist, Mats Holmström, Helmut Lammer, Herbert I.M. Lichtenegger, André Galli, Martin Rubin, Peter Wurz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the release of various elements from Callisto's surface into its exosphere by plasma sputtering. The cold Jovian plasma is simulated with a 3-D plasma-planetary interaction hybrid model, which produces 2-D surface precipitation maps for magnetospheric H+, O+, O++, and S++. For the hot Jovian plasma, we assume isotropic precipitation onto the complete spherical surface. Two scenarios are investigated: one where no ionospheric shielding takes place and accordingly full plasma penetration is implemented (no-ionosphere scenario) and one where an ionosphere lets virtually none of the cold plasma but all of the hot plasma reach Callisto's surface (ionosphere scenario). In the 3-D exosphere model, neutral particles are sputtered from the surface and followed on their individual trajectories. The 3-D density profiles show that whereas in the no-ionosphere scenario the ram direction is favored, the ionosphere scenario produces almost uniform density profiles. In addition, the density profiles in the ionosphere scenario are reduced by a factor of ∼2.5 with respect to the no-ionosphere scenario. We find that the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, which is part of the Particle Environment Package on board the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission, will be able to detect the different sputter populations from Callisto's icy surface and the major sputter populations from Callisto's nonicy surface. The chemical composition of Callisto's exosphere can be directly linked to the chemical composition of its surface and will offer us information not only on Callisto's formation scenario but also on the building blocks of the Jupiter system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7157-7169
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • atmosphere
  • Callisto
  • exosphere
  • Jupiter
  • plasma
  • sputtering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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