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Io seen by the Galileo spacecraft in 1999. Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Loki — a huge volcano on Jupiter's moon Io — is expected to erupt sometime this month.

Why it matters: Studying this volcano in deep space could help scientists learn more about how volcanoes on Earth formed in the planet's early history, according to planetary scientist Julie Rathbun.

What they found: Rathbun and her colleagues think that Loki actually erupts on a regular schedule, with an event lasting for about 100–200 days at a time.

  • Scientists on Earth are able to monitor these eruptions with telescopes that reveal Loki brightening and fading with each eruption.
  • Today, the volcano erupts once every 475 days or so, but in the 1990s, Loki brightened every 540 days.

But, but, but: Loki isn’t like a typical volcano you find on Earth. According to Rathbun, Loki is like a giant lake of lava on the moon’s surface.

  • "Since the surface of Io is so cold, the lava on top cools and turns solid. Eventually, this crust gets so heavy that it sinks and exposes more molten magma, this is when Loki is brightening and 'erupting,'" Rathbun told Axios via email.

The big picture: Studying Io's volcanic environment can also give scientists a better sense of what a volcano-dominated moon looks like, Rathbun said.

  • On Earth, water, plate tectonics, erosion and other large-scale processes shape the geology of our planet, but on Io, volcanism is the main driver, giving scientists a glimpse into a world very much unlike our own.

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Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

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Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

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Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

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The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.