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Juno will fly over Jupiter's moon Ganymede soon

Juno will fly over Jupiter’s moon Ganymede soon

Juno probe, from NASA, launched in 2011 to explore Jupiter, continues to orbit the gas giant Since 2016. And soon, the probe should approach the largest moon in the Jovian system: next Monday (7), Juno will fly over Ganymede at just 1,038 kilometers from its surface – this will be the closest flyover to a natural satellite ever, the last of which was made by the spacecraft Galileo on May 20, 2000.

Ganymede is the greatest The natural satellite of the solar system, and this is the only moon in our region that has its own magnetosphere (i.e. a type of bubble made up of charged particles) of its own. Then, when hovering over it, Juno will collect data on its composition, ice sheet and magnetosphere: “Juno carries an array of sensitive instruments capable of seeing Ganymede like we’ve never seen it before,” Scott Bolton said. Principal mission investigator.

For this purpose, the instrument will work together, the Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) and the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM), so that the microwave radiometer (MWR) can penetrate the frozen crust surrounding Ganymede, obtaining data about its composition and temperature. Then, the obtained data will be used by the next generation of missions towards the Jovian system.

Bolton explains that the ice sheet surrounding the moon has lighter and darker regions, indicating that some may be pure glaciers, while others may be ‘dirty ice’: “The MWR will provide the first in-depth investigation of how the composition and structure of the ice varies with depth, Which provides a better understanding of how the layer forms and the processes that change it over time.”

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The results obtained will be an important complement to futuristic juice mission, from the European Space Agency, which will investigate the occurrence of subterranean oceans on the moons Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. When passing behind the Moon, radio signals will pass through its ionosphere, which will cause a slight change in their frequency. “If we can measure this change, we may be able to understand the relationship between the ionosphere and Ganymede’s magnetic field with Jupiter’s magnetosphere,” concludes Dustin Buchino, the mission’s signal analysis engineer.

In fact, JunoCam imaging tool was created specifically to bring the beauty of Jupiter exploration to the public. Then, during a quick flyby, the instrument will “see” the turning of the moon, which will look like a small point of light until it becomes a disk, and then come back to look like a point of light. All of this is expected to take about 25 minutes, long enough to produce five images, which will help the mission’s science team see if there are changes to Ganymede’s surface.

Source: NASA

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