NASA Juno returns the closest images of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede

An image of the Jovian moon Ganymede, obtained by the JunoCam imager at an altitude of 1,038 km. Image: NASA Juno

New Delhi: NASA’s Juno space probe captured Ganymede’s first two images of Jupiter on its closest approach to the moon on June 7. the Galileo did so in 2000.

Nasa posted the first two photos of Juno June 8, showing the Ganymede craters, possible tectonic faults, and distinct light and dark terrain in great detail.

JunoCam, a visible light camera, captured almost an entire side of Ganymede, with a resolution of 1 km per pixel using a green filter. For now, the image is in black and white. JunoCam also took images through red and blue filters. Experts will combine later the three primary colors to produce a color image. The camera program is part of NASA’s outreach efforts, as its operation is determined by public opinion.

According to, the JunoCam team will do the raw metadata from the imager available in the public domain, and citizen scientists can process as they see fit and share with the JunoCam community. NASA tweeted such an interpretation of Ganymede that Kevin M. Gill, a software engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, produced.

The second image of the flyby was taken by the Stellar Reference Unit, a black and white camera that Juno use to navigate. This image shows the “hidden face” of Ganymede, dimly lit by the light scattered off Jupiter, American scientist wrote.

Heidi Becker, head of radiation monitoring for Juno at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a press release, “It’s a different part of the surface than what JunoCam sees in direct sunlight. The conditions under which we collected the dark side image of Ganymede were ideal for a low light camera like our stellar reference unit.

The imager has a resolution of 0.6 to 0.9 km per pixel.

“We’re going to take our time before drawing any scientific conclusions” from the images, said Scott Bolton, senior Juno scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Associated Press.

The flight over Juno also explored Composition, magnetosphere and shell of Ganymede ice. In 1996, the Hubble Space Telescope had found evidence of a thin atmosphere on the moon. Ganymede is also the only moon in the solar system to generate its own magnetic field.

The spacecraft has been observing Jupiter and its moons since July 2016, and is planned to do it until 2025. His next target will be the moon Europa in 2022, followed by two overflights of Io in 2024. After that, Juno will dive into Jupiter and complete his mission – instead of floating around future aimless and potentially flying missions. danger.

The Cassini mission ended on a similar note in 2017, plunging into Saturn and tearing itself to pieces.

Jupiter’s prodigious gravity will gradually tilt Juno’s orbit, forcing the probe to make its closest approaches over the northern hemispheres of the target bodies. Scientists in turn will take the opportunity to further study Jupiter’s north pole and storms in the region.

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