The Juno mission reveals its first two photographs of Ganymede, the giant moon of Jupiter
NASA’s Juno probe is tasked with exploring the gigantic gaseous planet Jupiter. And with it, also to its moons. For the first time in two decades, we have Detailed images of the surface of Ganymede, the largest of Jupiter’s moons. Images that arrive after Juno approaches a few hundred kilometers from the moon.
Ganymede is a special moon in the Solar System because in addition to being the largest it is the only one known to have a magnetic field. By now we already know many things about it, such as that, for example, it is composed largely of water, as well as a metallic core. Its surface however resembles that of our moon, with craters and ridges on all sides.
In the two new images that Juno has sent us we can especially see the latter. Highlights a large number of craters caused by meteorites that impact against its surface.
The images have been taken with the JunoCam and Stellar Reference Unit camera. Both are black and white, since according to NASA only the green filter of the camera has been used to take the pictures. In the future they say they will take more pictures using the blue and red filters also to take color images. The first of the photographs has higher resolution and quality than the second, in part because it is from the light part of the moon while the second one is from the dark part (which is not facing the Sun).
According to NASA, This is the first time a probe has gotten this close to Ganymede in this generation.. In addition to photographing the moon, you have collected and will collect key information such as its composition, ionosphere, magnetosphere, and surface area.
Why this interest in Ganymede? Has a slight thin oxygen atmosphere, although this does not mean that we can breathe there. However, it is believed that single-celled microbial life could exist in its underground ocean. This ocean is believed to be hidden below the surface, about 150 kilometers from the surface. The ocean itself could be 100 kilometers deep.
Once Juno finishes exploring Ganymede, her orbit will carefully bring her closer to the other moons of Jupiter of greatest interest. Lwill arrive just 320 kilometers from Europe in September 2022 and then it will pass twice by Io at about 1,500 kilometers away in December 2023 and February 2024. If all goes well and he still has energy left, he will make one last exploration diving into the gas of Jupiter to send his latest data before he dies.
Via | NASA