Io and Europa, the inner two of Jupiter's four largest moons, are about the size of Earth's moon and are composed mostly or entirely of rock and metal. Ganymede and Callisto are larger and roughly half ice. Thus, these four moons are somewhat analogous to the planets of the solar system, in which the rock- and metal-rich inner planets are distinct from the much larger gas and ice-rich outer planets. Jupiter's moons are, however, more "systematic": many of their properties vary continuously with distance from Jupiter. For example, Io is ice-free, Europa has a surface shell of ice, and while Ganymede and Callisto are both ice-rich, outermost Callisto has more.

This compositional gradient has geological parallels. Io is extremely geologically active, Europa seems to be active on a more modest scale, and Ganymede has undergone bouts of activity in its geological past. Only Callisto reveals no geological activity. In similar fashion, Callisto's surface is very heavily cratered from the impact of comets and asteroids; Ganymede, like Earth's moon, is heavily cratered in parts; Europa is very lightly cratered; and no craters have been detected on Io, even though Jupiter's gravity attracts comets and asteroids passing near it, substantially increasing the bombardment rate of the inner moons compared to that of the outer ones. But because of Io's high degree of geological activity, its surface undergoes moreor- less continuous volcanic resurfacing.


Which of the following best describes the purpose of the second paragraph of the passage?


To provide further evidence of the systematic variation in the characteristics of Jupiter's four largest moons

To present a comprehensive theory to explain the systematic variation in the characteristics of Jupiter's four largest moons

To explain the significance of the systematic variation in the characteristics of Jupiter's four largest moons

To introduce facts that contradict conventional assumptions about Jupiter's four largest moons

To contrast the characteristics of Jupiter's four largest moons with the characteristics of the planets of the solar system

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