In Word: NASA has shared the first two images captured by its Juno spacecraft earlier this week as it passed Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede. The flyby occurred on June 7 and is the closest a spacecraft has been to Jupiter’s icy moon in more than two decades.
Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio saying they will take their time before drawing scientific conclusions from the images, but for now, “we can just marvel at this heavenly wonder.”
The images – one from the orbiter’s JunoCam imager and the other from its Stellar Reference Unit stellar camera – highlight craters, dark and light spots on the ground, and what NASA believes could be structural features linked to tectonic faults. .
The JunoCam managed to capture almost the entire side of the moon using its green filter. Later, once versions of the same photo are streamed with the red and blue filters, NASA will be able to provide a color portrait of the moon.
NASA’s Juno space probe left Cape Canaveral on August 5, 2011 and entered a polar orbit of Jupiter on July 5, 2016. Earlier this year, NASA extended the probe’s mission period until September. 2025. Once it has finished its work, it will be sent into Jupiter’s atmosphere for disintegration.
More images are expected in the coming days and will be available on NASA website.