If you needed a reminder of just how special our little blue marble is in the universe, this should do it.
A new report in the Journal of Geophysical Research takes a close look at the atmosphere of Jupiter’s icy moon Io, and came to the conclusion the object actually loses and regains its atmosphere pretty much every day, causing radical effects on the moon’s surface, crashing the temperature even lower, and it hemorrhages sulfur dioxide from a hole in the atmosphere until there’s pretty much no atmosphere left.
As Gizmodo notes, the study concluded that every time the moon is eclipsed by Jupiter — which lasts about two hours every day — the moon’s temperature drops severely and the atmosphere essentially functions like a balloon with a hole in it, losing its sulfur dioxide-rich atmosphere. Which makes this moon even more volatile, when combined with its ice volcanoes.
The study’s co-author noted the findings reveal the moon is in a “constant state of collapse and repair,” which is positively astounding and worth a whole lot more study. So, future astronauts take note — may want to keep Io off the vacation list.