December 9, 2022

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NASA shares the primary close-up pictures of Jupiter’s moon Europa in twenty years

what simply occurred The James Webb Area Telescope has gotten the lion’s share of consideration these days, nevertheless it’s not the one NASA spacecraft actively exploring the cosmos. The Juno spacecraft has returned the primary picture it took because it flew previous Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, the sixth largest moon in our photo voltaic system. Europa is barely smaller than our personal satellite tv for pc and is alleged to harbor a salty ocean beneath its kilometer-thick ice sheet.

Juno launched from Cape Canaveral on August 5, 2011 and entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 5, 2016. In 2021, the probe returned its first pictures of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. Through the Europa flyby on September 29, the probe got here inside about 219 miles of the icy moon. It was solely the third slim cross beneath 310 miles and represents the narrowest view of Europe since NASA’s Galileo flew over Europe in 2000.

The probe didn’t have a lot time to lose because it sped previous the moon at about 14.7 miles per second, or 52,920 miles per hour. Onboard JunoCam targeted on a area referred to as Annwn Regio north of the lunar equator.

Scott Bolton, principal investigator for Juno from the Southwest Analysis Institute in San Antonio, mentioned it’s early days however all indicators level to the flyby being an enormous success.

Sweet Hansen, a Juno co-investigator who’s main the planning for the digital camera on the Planetary Science Institute, mentioned the science group will examine all the pictures of Juno with these from earlier missions to see if the lunar floor has modified previously twenty years. “The JunoCam imagery will fill within the present geological map, changing the prevailing low-resolution protection of the world,” added Hansen.

The photographs and supporting science information may also assist the group study extra concerning the moon’s icy envelope, its inside and floor composition, its ionosphere, and the interplay between the moon and Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

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Extra, unedited pictures of the flyby can be found on NASA’s web site. NASA shares the primary close-up pictures of Jupiter’s moon Europa in twenty years