NASA’s Juno spacecraft shares first image from Jupiter moon fly-by

NASA’s Juno spacecraft shares first image from Jupiter moon fly-by

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Trevor Mogg

By September 29, 2022 6:40PM

After beaming backmost images from its fly-by of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, arsenic good arsenic stunning images of Jupiter itself, NASA’s Juno spacecraft this week did the aforesaid for different of the planet’s moons: Europa.

And the aboriginal results bash nary disappoint.

“This is the aboveground of Jupiter’s satellite Europa, arsenic seen contiguous by our Juno Mission spacecraft from a region of astir 219 miles (352 kilometers),” NASA said successful a tweet connected Thursday.

📸 Witness Europa successful unprecedented detail!

Today, @NASASolarSystem’s #JunoMission captured the highest solution images taken of Jupiter’s satellite successful decades, arsenic good arsenic collected information connected its interior, aboveground composition, & ionosphere. Here’s what we saw: https://t.co/h8fYr1qBcZ pic.twitter.com/eDDVyVw0nw

— NASA Astrobiology: Exploring Life successful the Universe (@NASAAstrobio) September 29, 2022

The image, a larger mentation of which appears below, shows aboveground features successful a portion adjacent the moon’s equator called Annwn Regio.

Jupiter's Europa satellite  imaged by NASA's Juno spacecraft.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SWRI/MSSS

Europa is the sixth-largest satellite successful the star strategy and is somewhat smaller than Earth’s moon. Scientists judge a salty water could beryllium beneath an crystal expanse a mile thick, raising the breathtaking anticipation of Europa having the conditions to enactment immoderate signifier of life.

The representation is the archetypal close-up of the Europa satellite successful much than 2 decades aft NASA’s Galileo spacecraft came wrong 218 miles (351 kilometers) of its aboveground successful 2020, and offers the champion solution of immoderate Europa representation to date.

Juno captured it portion zipping by the moon’s aboveground astatine astir 14.7 miles per 2nd (23.6 kilometers per second).

Discussing the image, NASA said: “Due to the enhanced opposition betwixt airy and shadiness seen on the terminator (the nightside boundary), rugged terrain features are easy seen, including gangly shadow-casting blocks, portion agleam and acheronian ridges and troughs curve crossed the surface,” adding that the oblong pit adjacent the terminator to the near of the representation could beryllium a degraded interaction crater.

The fly-by has besides provided NASA scientists with caller information connected Europa’s interior, aboveground composition, and ionosphere, which we tin expect to perceive much astir successful the coming weeks. More images similar the 1 supra tin besides beryllium expected soon.

“It’s precise aboriginal successful the process, but by each indications Juno’s flyby of Europa was a large success,” said Scott Bolton, Juno main researcher from Southwest Research Institute successful San Antonio. “This archetypal representation is conscionable a glimpse of the singular caller subject to travel from Juno’s full suite of instruments and sensors that acquired information arsenic we skimmed implicit the moon’s icy crust.”

Juno reached Jupiter successful 2016 aft launching from Earth 5 years earlier. NASA is presently preparing its Europa Clipper spacecraft for a ngo successful 2024 that volition endeavor to larn adjacent much astir Jupiter’s icy moon, with 1 of its main goals to corroborate whether oregon not it has the conditions to enactment life.

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