Technology

Spacecraft buzzes Jupiter’s mega moon, 1st close-up in years

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Juno spacecraft has supplied the primary close-ups of Jupiter’s largest moon in twenty years.

Juno zoomed previous icy Ganymede on Monday, passing inside 645 miles (1,038 kilometers). The final time a spacecraft got here that shut was in 2000 when NASA’s Galileo spacecraft swept previous our photo voltaic system’s largest moon.

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NASA launched Juno’s first two footage Tuesday, highlighting Ganymede’s craters and lengthy, slim options probably associated to tectonic faults. One exhibits the moon’s far facet, reverse the solar.

This June 7, 2021 picture made obtainable by NASA exhibits the Jovian moon Ganymede because the Juno spacecraft flies by. “This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation,” mentioned Juno’s lead scientist, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS by way of AP)

“This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation,” mentioned Juno’s lead scientist, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “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 only moon in our solar system bigger than the planet Mercury.”

Ganymede is one in all 79 identified moons round Jupiter, a gasoline big. Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei found Ganymede in 1610, together with Jupiter’s three next-biggest moons.

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Launched a decade in the past, Juno has been orbiting Jupiter for 5 years.

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