The first images in 20 years of Jupiter's gigantic moon arrive on Earth


NASA's Juno probe sent the first images of Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, that Earth has received in more than 20 years.

Scott Bolton, principal investigator at NASA's Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas said, this is the closest any spacecraft has come to this gigantic moon in a generation. We're going to take our time before drawing scientific conclusions, but until then we're just going to marvel at this, the only moon in our solar system anymore. bigger than Mercury.

The probe flew over the largest moon in the Solar System on June 7 at 1,038 kilometers from Ganymede's surface, the closest to the satellite since the Galileo spacecraft made its penultimate approach on May 20, 2000.

Juno, which has been orbiting the gas giant since 2016, sent two black and white images to Earth, one taken by the JunoCam camera with almost the entire side of the moon and the other by the Stellar Reference Unit camera, which is photographed. the dark side.

Both show the surface in detail, including craters, darker and lighter terrain, and landmarks possibly linked to tectonic faults.
The solar-powered orbiter's science instruments began studying the moon before approach, analyzing its icy crust for information on its composition and temperature.

It will be the first in-depth investigation of how the composition and structure of ice vary with depth.
The probe will also study Ganymede's ionosphere and magnetosphere and measure radiation in the environment near the moon, information that will benefit future missions to the Jovian system. Juno was launched in 2011 and has orbited the gigantic planet 28 times.

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