Close-up of Jupiter’s moon in Europe shows strange surface

An avatar of the Europa Clipper over the moon of the same name.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured images of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa during its recent flyby. one of the picturesReleased this week by NASA — Provides an intimate view of Europa’s surface features.

Juno has been orbiting gas giant Jupiter since 2016, but only recently has NASA turned the spacecraft’s attention to the planet’s moons. Europa is of particular scientific interest because scientists believe that the salty ocean lies beneath the frozen surface of the moon.

A black and white aerial photograph of Europe's frozen surface.

If there is such an ocean – something is coming Europa Clipper Mission He will investigate using a surface penetrating radar – it can host components for life, if not life itself.

The last image was taken during Juno’s flyby of September 29, as the spacecraft came about 220 miles from the lunar surface. The image covers approximately 11,600 square miles of Europe, a region dominated by canyons and ridges in the ice. It’s a black and white picture taken from About 256 miles above the surface It is the highest image ever taken of a particular part of the moon.

new picture builds on The first pictures were released from the flight. Darker spots on ice It could indicate something under the moon’s crust is exploding at the surface, according to recent NASA Release. The white dotted spots in the image are signals of high-energy particles of radiation in the environment around the Moon.

“These features are very interesting,” said Heidi Becker, co-principal investigator of the camera used to capture the image. “Understanding how it formed – and how it relates to Europe’s history – tells us about the internal and external processes that make up the ice crust.”

Although Juno began with its focus on Jupiter, its investigation extended to four satellites in the Galilean region and the gas giant’s rings—it was not easy to see, but Recently captured In pictures by Webb Space Telescope.

Juno flew close to Ganymede (the largest moon in the solar system) in June 2021, and in 2023 Io will get its own flight. Juno greatly expands his surveillance targets It will be replaced by NASA’s Europa Clipper in the early 2030s, which will investigate Europa’s ability to enhance life with the latest tools.

Europa’s surface may look very hostile in black and white and from an altitude of 200 miles, but under the ice, It could be a completely different story.

MORE: Check out Juno’s first close-up photos of Icy Europa

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