NASA’s Juno spacecraft did a flyby of Jupiter’s big moon Ganymede on June 7. It was the closest any spacecraft has flown to Jupiter’s largest moon in additional than twenty years. NASA has published the primary two photographs from the flyby.
One photograph was captured by the craft’s JunoCam imager. The opposite shot was captured by Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit star digital camera. Each photographs present Ganymede’s floor in spectacular element, revealing craters, distinctly darkish and vivid terrain, and lengthy structural options that NASA states could also be linked to tectonic faults on the moon.
The Juno spacecraft continues its strategy on the evening aspect of Ganymede.
Present distance to Ganymede: about 16,000 miles (26,000 kilometers).
Velocity relative to Ganymede: about 41,000 MPH (66,000 kilometers per hour). pic.twitter.com/xwNMWLm1Ma
— NASA Photo voltaic System (@NASASolarSystem) June 7, 2021
‘That is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a era,’ mentioned Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Analysis Institute in San Antonio. ‘We’re going to take our time earlier than we draw any scientific conclusions, however till then we are able to merely marvel at this celestial marvel.’
Of the JunoCam picture, NASA writes, ‘Utilizing its inexperienced filter, the spacecraft’s JunoCam visible-light imager captured virtually a whole aspect of the water-ice-encrusted moon. Later, when variations of the identical picture come down incorporating the digital camera’s pink and blue filters, imaging specialists will have the ability to present a shade portrait of Ganymede. Picture decision is about 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) per pixel.’
|‘This picture of Ganymede was obtained by the JunoCam imager throughout Juno’s June 7, 2021, flyby of the icy moon.’ Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS|
On the time of Juno’s strategy, the spacecraft was inside 1,038km (645mi) of Ganymede’s floor. Juno is a spin-stabilized plane with a rotation price of two rpm, and JunoCam has a set discipline of view. NASA writes, ‘To acquire Ganymede photographs as Juno rotated, the digital camera acquired a strip at a time because the goal handed by the sector of view. These picture strips had been captured individually by the pink, inexperienced and blue filters. To generate the ultimate picture product, the strips should be stitched collectively and colours aligned.’
The required navigation and different ancillary data offered by precision statement geometry are usually not but out there, so the picture above is a preliminary product. We’re trying ahead to sharing the ultimate shade picture with you as quickly because it’s out there.
The Stellar Reference Unit, which is a navigation digital camera that retains Juno on its course, offered a black and white picture of Ganymede’s darkish aspect, which like with our moon, is the aspect reverse the Solar. The darkish aspect is lit dimly by mirrored gentle from Jupiter’s floor. The picture decision of the Stellar Reference Unit’s digital camera is between 600 to 900 meters (0.37 to 0.56mi) per pixel.
|‘This picture of the darkish aspect of Ganymede was obtained by Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit navigation digital camera throughout its June 7, 2021, flyby of the moon.’ Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI|
Juno’s current shut encounter with the Jovian moon, Ganymede, is anticipated to shed perception into the moon’s composition, ionosphere, magnetosphere and ice shell. Juno can also be meant to supply measurements of the radiation surroundings, which can hopefully profit future missions to Jupiter.
‘ The circumstances during which we collected the darkish aspect picture of Ganymede had been very best for a low-light digital camera like our Stellar Reference Unit,’ mentioned Heidi Becker, Juno’s radiation monitoring lead at JPL. ‘So it is a totally different a part of the floor than seen by JunoCam in direct daylight. Will probably be enjoyable to see what the 2 groups can piece collectively.’