The last time we saw Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede up close was two decades ago. Now, NASA has launched a new close-up of the moon, taken on June 7, 2018. . 2021 by Juno spacecraft Breathtaking images reveal Ganymede’s icy surface in remarkable detail. showing the craters of the moon light and dark landscape and long linear features that may resemble tectonic faults on Earth.
Flying over Ganymede for the first time in over 20 years
This is the closest any spacecraft has come to a giant moon since the Galileo spacecraft approached on May 20, 2000. Juno flew past Ganymede on Monday, June 7. At 1:35 p.m. EDT (10:35 a.m. PDT), it entered within 645 miles (1,038 km) from its closest surface, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Juno Principal Investigator said in a statement. that:
This is the closest spacecraft to this monstrous moon in a generation. We’ll take our time before drawing scientific conclusions. But even then we can marvel at this celestial miracle.
New images of Ganymede and its icy surface
These images give us our first glimpse of this mysterious world in more than two decades. One image was taken by Juno’s JunoCam imager and the other from the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU) star telescope.
Juno was able to capture nearly all aspects of Ganymede with JunoCam at a resolution of 0.6 miles (1 km) per pixel. Most of the images are now black and white. but other pictures pending will be colored
The SRU camera looks at Ganymede’s dark side. It only shines in the dim sunlight reflected from Jupiter. The resolution in that image is 0.37 to 0.56 miles (600 to 900 meters) per pixel, according to Heidi Becker, Juno’s Head of Radiation Monitoring at JPL:
The conditions in which we captured the dark side of Ganymede are ideal for low-light cameras such as our Stellar Reference Unit, so this is more of a surface difference than what JunoCam sees in direct sunlight. It will be fun to see what the two teams can combine.
Juno, Jupiter and Ganymede
Juno’s primary mission is to study Jupiter itself, examining its clouds, storms, and its depths. But the spacecraft is also ready for some moon viewing. As Bolton explains:
Juno holds a sophisticated set of tools that can see Ganymede in ways that have never been possible before. by flying close We will bring Ganymede exploration into the 21st century and complement our future missions with our unique sensors. and help prepare for the next generation of missions in the Jovian system: NASA and ESA’s Europa Clipper. [European Space Agency’s] JUpiter ICy moons Explorer [JUICE] mission
The probe also uses other tools. To study Ganymede, including the Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) and the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM), the Microwave Radiometer (MWR) was also able to better determine the composition and temperature of Ganymede’s water ice crust.
The largest moon in the solar system
Ganymede is not only Jupiter’s largest moon. It is also the largest natural satellite in the entire solar system. It’s even bigger than Mercury. It is also the only moon with its own magnetic field. The magnetosphere is the bubble-shaped region of surrounding charged particles, such as planets or moons.
Like other large moons of Jupiter Callisto and Europa Ganymede has an icy surface and an outer crust. The surface is characterized by craters. Unusual light and dark areas and long cracks that resemble tectonic faults on Earth. These are evidence of active geology on the moon in the past. And may continue, Bolton said:
Ganymede’s crust has some light and dark areas. Indicates that some areas may be pure ice. while other areas There is dirty ice. The MWR will provide the first in-depth investigation of how the composition and structure of ice varies with depth. This leads to a better understanding of how the ice crust forms and the ongoing processes in which the ice surface regenerates over time.
An ocean on Ganymede?
Ganymede has three main classes: a metallic iron core. stone mantle and an outer ice crust that is about 500 miles (800 km) thick. In 2015, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope also found evidence of a subsurface ocean on Ganymede. The ocean beneath the ice crust is about 100 kilometers deep, which is 10 times deeper than the world’s oceans. John Grunsfeld, former Joint Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said:
This discovery is an important step forward. It underscored what only Hubble has accomplished in the past 25 years in orbit. Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our own solar system. The deep ocean beneath Ganymede’s frigid icy crust opens up exciting opportunities for extraterrestrial life.
if confirmed Ganymede’s ocean is one of many known to exist on the icy moons in the outer solar system. Europa and Enceladus are two of the best known on Earth. Can it live? No one will know until more information is obtained.
Juno will send more pictures from flyby in the coming days. Please stay tuned! The raw images are available on the JunoCam website.
The spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016, studying its deep atmosphere, clouds, storms, aurora and the hidden interior of the giant planet. Previously also captured beautiful images of the active volcano on the moon Io.
Bottom line: NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent back the first new close-up of Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede in 20 years.