NASA’s Juno mission has shared a stunning image of the terrifying surface of Jupiter’s Moon Europa.
NASA has shared a stunningly close and high-resolution photo of Jupiter’s moon Europa, all thanks to the Juno mission, which is centred around the largest planet in our solar system. The image reveals a detailed view of a puzzling region of the moon’s heavily fractured icy crust. NASA explains that the highest ever resolution image of Jupiter’s Moon so far covers about 93 miles (150 kilometres) by 125 miles (200 kilometres) of Europa’s surface, revealing a region crisscrossed with a network of fine grooves and double ridges- something of a highway to hell, considering that the moon is constantly blasted by radiation from Jupiter. NASA says, “Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit (SRU) – a star camera used to orient the spacecraft – obtained the black-and-white image during the spacecraft’s flyby of Europa on Sept. 29, 2022, at a distance of about 256 miles (412 kilometers).”
“This image is unlocking an incredible level of detail in a region not previously imaged at such resolution and under such revealing illumination conditions. The team’s use of a star-tracker camera for science is a great example of Juno’s groundbreaking capabilities. These features are so intriguing. Understanding how they formed – and how they connect to Europa’s history – informs us about internal and external processes shaping the icy crust,” said Heidi Becker, the lead co-investigator for Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit.
This black-and-white image was captured on September 29, 2022, via Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit – a star camera used to orient the spacecraft at a distance of about 256 miles. The surprising part is that the image of this region of Europa was captured as Juno raced past at about 24 kilometres per second. NASA says that the dark stains in the image may be a result of something from below erupting onto the surface. There are some white dots too which are signatures of high-energy particles from the severe radiation around the moon.
More about NASA’s Juno Mission
NASA launched the Juno mission back on August 5, 2011. It embarked on a 5-year journey to our solar system’s largest planet – Jupiter. NASA’s mission to Jupiter’s main aim is to probe beneath the planet’s dense clouds and unlock Jupiter’s Secrets. The Juno spacecraft is designed to reveal some insightful information about Jupiter – from its origin and evolution to our solar system, and giant planets in general across the universe. Juno reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016.