The Juno mission takes speechless precision images of the largest galilean moon Ganymede !
By Cpt. Eric Recurt
Image by NASA
This is an historic flyby of the largest moon in our solar system : Ganymede's images are starting to roll in at the NASA/JPL/JUNO mission office taken on Monday the 7th 0f June 2021.
Juno passed within a mere 1038 kms of Jupiter’s huge satellite Ganymede!
Just to tell you how large this moon is : bigger than our planet Mercury!
These close shots are the nearest ever of any probe had been taken from moon Ganymede since last May 2000, when the Galileo mission flew as close as 1000 kms from it’s icy surface.
By searching into the database of the JPL public website, we managed to process some surprising surface features taken by the JunoCAM .
An entire side of the crater-pocked Ganymede thought to harbor a huge ocean of liquid water under its icy crust: A possible confirmation that moon Ganymede is an other Ocean World !
Image by NASA
This « sphere » of ocean is likely to be sandwiched between two ice layers, even though, not as astrobiologically interesting as the sub-surface seas of Jupiter’s moon Europ and the Saturn satellite Enceladus. Those other underground oceans are in contact with their moons’ rocky interiors, making complex chemical reactions possible.
Image by Nasa The JunoCam images, which have a resolution of 1 km per pixel, was captured using the instrument’s green filter. The original image is black and white, but the mission team will be able to create a color portrait once the versions taken with JunoCam’s with the help of the other red and blue filter data, says NASA.
The second photo comes courtesy of the Stellar Reference Unit, a black&white camera that Juno uses for navigation. This image, which features a resolution of 0.6 to 0.9 km per pixel, shows the side of Ganymede opposite the sun, which is faintly illuminated by light bouncing off from Jupiter.
« The conditions in which the Juno Team collected the dark side image of Ganymede were ideal for a low-light camera like our Stellar Reference Unit, states Heidi Becker, Juno’s radiation-monitoring lead at NASA’s JPL in Southern California.
« So this is a different part of the surface than seen by JunoCam in direct sunlight,” Becker said. “It will be fun to see what the two teams can piece together. »
Ganymede surface details and name by USGS: