NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured the most detailed photo of Jupiter’s moon Europa to date. This gives scientists a close-up view of “a puzzling area of the moon’s heavily fractured, icy crust.”
NASA states that the image covers approximately 93 miles and 125 miles of Europa’s topography. NASA claims that the region includes fine grooves and double-ridges as well as dark stains which could indicate something below is erupting on its surface. The features that are visible in the image are high-energy particles penetrating the lunar radiation.
Heidi Becker, co-investigator of the SRU, stated that this image unlocks an amazing level of detail in a region never before imaged at such resolutions and under such revealing lighting conditions. Juno’s innovative capabilities are demonstrated by the team’s use of a star-tracker camera to study science. These features are fascinating. These features are so fascinating. Understanding their formation and how they relate to Europa’s history can help us understand the internal and external processes that shaped the icy crust.
Juno flew within 219 miles (352 km) of Europa on Sept. 29. It is believed that Europa has an ocean below its thick, frozen crust. This could raise the possibility of underwater life. Scientists declared the flyby a success with four images being transmitted down and then released within hours.
Europa is the sixth-largest solar system moon, with approximately 90% of the equatorial circumference of Earth’s moon.
NASA will use the latest observations to plan for its Europa Clipper mission. It is due to launch in 2024 and reach the Jovian system by 2030. The European Space Agency plans to have close encounters next year with the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (or Juice), which will lift off next year.
NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which was launched in 1999, still holds the Europa flyby record. It passed within 218 miles (351 km) of Earth in 2000.