- NASA’s Juno Mission Beams Back Photo of Jupiter Icy Moon Europa
- About NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter Icy Moon Europa
NASA’s Juno probe photographed Jupiter’s moon Europa for the first time, capturing the ice-covered surface in incredible detail.
Since Galileo, a spacecraft operated by the US space agency, reached within 218 miles (351 km) of the surface in January 2000, this photograph is the closest view of Europa that any spacecraft has offered in more than 20 years.
Daily Mail said Juno’s images, taken earlier this week at the solar-powered probe’s closest approach, reveal surface characteristics in an area known as Annwn Regio, which is close to the moon’s equator.
NASA’s Juno Mission Beams Back Photo of Jupiter Icy Moon Europa
According to NASA, Juno’s most recent flyby mission to Europa produced a small number of photographs that are now accessible to the general public. It was also the craft’s closest approach to the moon. The ice-covered moon of Jupiter, known as Europa, is unusual since most natural satellites only appear as space rocks circling planets.
Earlier on Thursday, Juno came within 219 miles (352 kilometers) of Europa and captured several photographs of the frozen moon, which NASA shared with the general public. Many years after the Galileo mission, which initially allowed many people in the space community and the public to glimpse the frozen moon, it offered an excellent look at Europa.
Although it is the sixth-largest moon in the solar system, Europa is smaller than the lunar rock found on Earth. Even yet, it remains one of the strongest due to its frozen surface, which scientists believe in having saltwater below it. Numerous hypotheses also suggest that it was formerly able to support life and contain living beings.
The complex, ice-covered surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during a flyby on Sept. 29, 2022. At its closest approach, the spacecraft came within a distance of about 219 miles (352 kilometers).
About NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter Icy Moon Europa
Officials described Juno’s unique perspective as essential to establishing observations for NASA’s next Europa Clipper mission, which will launch in only two years to explore the ice moon, even though geological data from the flyby is just beginning to arrive.
Although it is comparable in size to Earth’s moon and is the sixth-largest moon in the solar system, Europa has a distinct origin and evolutionary history. A vast ice layer covers the ocean under Europa’s surface, which scientists believe may be home to Earth-like life.
According to JPL (via Space.com), during its flyby, Juno gathered data on the moon’s environment, atmosphere, surface, and internal structure, in addition to some of the highest resolution moon images ever taken at 0.6 miles or 1 km per pixel.
For next missions like Clipper, data from Juno’s microwave radiometer instrument may be particularly crucial since it may help locate some possibly livable “pockets” of liquid water just beneath the huge ice sheet.
Scientists modified Juno’s course slightly due to the flyby, and it will now complete one circle of Jupiter in 38 days (compared with the previous 43.) If the mission can continue despite the harsh radiation from the radiation belts of Jupiter, flybys of the eruptive Jovian moon Io are anticipated in 2023 and 2024.
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