Mars and Venus aren’t the only planets in the solar system that fascinate space agency scientists. Jupiter and its moons are also of great interest, as the latest data collected by the Juno probe confirms.
Of the moons of Jupiter, we mainly know Europe, Io and Callisto. Ganymede is a more discreet satellite, yet it deserves our full attention. The Juno probe, orbiting Jupiter for five years, came close to this ice moon and was able to take a superb photo shared by NASA.
A moon that deserves to be known
The photograph, taken 1,000 kilometers from Ganymede, shows the surface of this immense moon, it is even quite simply the largest in our solar system. At 5,268 kilometers in diameter, it is even larger than the planet Mercury and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. We know that the core of Ganymede is liquid and composed of iron. An ocean is present under the surface ice, it could contain more water than all the oceans of the Earth!
In the image, we can clearly see the craters, dark and light terrain, as well as long structural features that could be linked to tectonic faults, the US agency said. This is the first time that we have seen Ganymede so closely. Juno, who delighted us with beautiful images of Jupiter, also took advantage of this proximity to activate its sensors, which will allow scientists to better understand this still largely unknown moon.
The probe’s JunoCam has also recorded a series of photos that NASA will assemble to create a color image of Ganymede, it will have a resolution of one kilometer per pixel. To be patient, we can also appreciate the detail of the dark face of the moon taken in the wake of the first shot.