NASA’s Juno spacecraft mission to Jupiter She set her sights on the moon, Io.
Jupiter’s moon was scheduled to be imaged on Thursday.
The December 15 trip was the first of nine, two of which were just 930 miles apart.
The July 5 image was taken when the spacecraft flew at a distance of about 50,000 miles, with brighter spots indicating warming.
“The team is really excited that the expanded Juno mission will include studying Jupiter’s moons. And with each close flyby, we’ve been able to glean a wealth of new information,” Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said in a statement. “Juno’s sensors are designed to study Jupiter, but we’re pleased with how well they can do double duty by observing Jupiter’s moons.”
Io, the most volcanically active world in the solar system, will continue to be of interest to the Juno team for the next year and a half.
Now in the second year of its mission to probe the interior of Jupiter, the solar-powered Juno previously conducted close flybys of Ganymede last year and Europa earlier in 2022.
NASA said Juno scientists will use those flybys To perform the first high-resolution observational campaign on the magma-covered moon, studying Io’s volcanoes and how volcanic eruptions interact with Jupiter’s strong magnetosphere and aurora borealis.
The Moon – which is only slightly larger than Earth’s – contains hundreds of volcanoes, some of which erupt from lava fountains dozens of miles high.
Its remarkable activity is the result of a tug-of-war between Jupiter’s powerful gravitational pull and smaller but precisely timed gravitational pulls from Europa and Ganymede.
Io was discovered in 1610 by the famous Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei.
This discovery, along with three other Jovian moons, was the first A moon has been discovered orbiting a planet other than the ground.