Europe close up. NASA spacecraft showed what is on the surface of Jupiter's moon (photo)
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The new images of the Juno spacecraft show incredible detail of Europa's icy shell.
During the next flyby of the moon of Jupiter, which lasted only 2 hours, NASA's Juno spacecraft was able to take unique pictures of Jupiter's moon Europa. It is believed that on an ice-covered satellite, there may be oceans of liquid water under the surface, and in them there may be extraterrestrial life, writes Universe Today.
The main task of the Juno apparatus is to explore Jupiter, rather than a spacecraft and has been working since 2016. But sometimes he manages to take pictures of the largest satellites of the gas giant. In particular, during its recent flyby, the device received new detailed images of Europe.
The spacecraft “Juno” at a speed of 23.6 km/s flew over the surface of Jupiter's moon at an altitude of 352 km. This distance is the closest it has been in over 20 years since the Galileo spacecraft approached Europe in 2000 at a distance of 350 km.
One of the images taken by the spacecraft using the JunoCam camera shows a region near the equator of the moon of Jupiter, and here the ridges and depressions of the ice shell of Europa are visible. Scientists believe that such landscape features on the surface are caused by tidal forces that arise when Europa orbits Jupiter.
Using the Juno spacecraft, scientists continue to obtain the most detailed images of the surface. Also, during the last flyby of Europa, the spacecraft's instruments collected data on the structure of the satellite's ice shell, the composition of its surface, its ionosphere, and how Europa interacts with Jupiter's magnetosphere.
According to Juno mission scientist Candy Hansen, the new images of Europa will provide a better understanding of what is happening on this satellite of Jupiter.
“We are going to compare the new images with those that the device sent before , as well as images from previous missions. We want to know how the surface of Europe has changed over the past 20 years,” says Hansen.
New images of Europa could show scientists where the surface ice is much thinner and where reservoirs of liquid water could exist. This data will help in planning the future NASA mission, which will be fully focused on the study of Europe. A device called Europa Clipper should fly to Jupiter's moon in 2 years. Focus has already written about this comic device in detail.
Exactly a year ago, Juno made a close flyby of another ice moon of Jupiter – Ganymede, which is the largest satellite in the solar system. Next year, the device will make a similar very close flyby around the satellite Io, which is the most volcanically active celestial body in the solar system.
We remind you that a recent study by scientists showed that on Europa, namely in its icy shell, interesting processes. The same processes can be seen on Earth.
As for Jupiter itself, Focus has already written that scientists have shown how the gas giant actually looks in its natural colors .