NASA’s Juno spacecraft has taken the closest photos of Europe in 20 years

NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew simply 352 kilometers above Jupiter’s moon Europa, returning terribly detailed photos of the floor


September 29, 2022

Europa, the moon of Jupiter

One of many closest appears to be like to Europa, Jupiter’s moon, in a long time

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has captured the closest photos of Jupiter’s moon Europa in additional than twenty years. On September 29, it flew simply 352 kilometers above the icy moon’s floor, solely the third time a spacecraft has been inside 500 kilometers of it. The photographs of that daring transfer are terribly detailed.

On the time of the flyby, Juno was touring at virtually 24 kilometers per second, so it solely had a two-hour window to gather detailed knowledge earlier than heading off once more. Throughout this time, he took photos and picked up knowledge on the composition of the moon’s floor, its inside construction, and its interplay with Jupiter’s magnetic subject. Images reveal ridges and channels crossing the floor of Europa, in addition to small impression craters.

“The science workforce will examine the complete set of photos obtained by Juno with photos from earlier missions, seeking to see if Europa’s floor options have modified over the previous twenty years,” Sweet Hansen advised The Planetary. Science Institute in Arizona in a assertion. “The JunoCam photos will fill within the present geological map, changing the present low-resolution protection of the world.”

This new knowledge will assist researchers put together for the Europa Clipper mission, which is about to launch in 2024 with the intention of figuring out whether or not the freezing moon might harbor life beneath its icy shell. In addition to its deep ocean under the floor, Juno knowledge ought to reveal whether or not there are shallow waters pockets of liquid water contained in the hull.

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