NASA’s Juno provides close-ups of Jupiter’s largest moon for the first time in decades
First close-ups of Jupiter’s largest moon have been provided by NASA’s Juno spacecraft for the first time in two decades.
The first close-ups of Jupiter’s largest moon have been provided by NASA’s Juno spacecraft for the first time in two decades.
The images have been taken from Jupiter orbiter’s JunoCam imager and from its Stellar Reference Unit star camera.
They show the surface in remarkable detail, including craters, clearly making a distinction in dark and bright terrain, and long structural features that can be linked to tectonic faults.
Hello, old friend. Yesterday our #JunoMission made the first close flyby of Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede in more than 20 years, and the first two images have been received on Earth. 📸 More to come. See details at: https://t.co/zIVMO6waKH pic.twitter.com/2RiW3iSmIp— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) June 8, 2021
Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said, “This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation”. He added, “We are going to take our time before we draw any scientific conclusions, but until then we can simply marvel at this celestial wonder”.
The spacecraft’s JunoCam visible-light imager used its green filter and captured almost an entire side of the water-ice-encrusted moon. Later, the imaging experts will be able to provide a colour portrait of Ganymede.
Also read | 'We want to know': NASA hops on curiosity rover to understand 'unidentified aerial phenomena'
This will be done when versions of the same image will come down incorporating the camera’s red and blue filters. The image resolution is about 0.6 miles per pixel.
Heidi Becker, Juno’s radiation monitoring lead at JPL said, “The conditions in which we collected the dark side image of Ganymede were ideal for a low-light camera like our Stellar Reference Unit. So this is a different part of the surface than seen by JunoCam in direct sunlight. It will be fun to see what the two teams can piece together".