Jupiter: the Juno probe will fly over the moon Ganymede closely, a first in 20 years

NASA’s Juno probe will make the closest visit to Ganymede tonight for more than 20 years. Indeed, no probe had obtained such a good view of Jupiter’s largest moon since the year 2000, when NASA’s Galileo spacecraft had passed in front of this little-known star.

Moon Ganymede
Moon Ganymede, DR image credits

Ganymede is the largest moon in the entire solar system. Today Monday, June 7 at 7:35 p.m. PST and at over 69,523 km / h, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly over Jupiter’s moon just 1,038 kilometers above its surface, gathering thus a multitude of observations. NASA had recently unveiled a collection of images of the Juno probe as it hovered over Jupiter. The result, in video, was already impressive.

The Juno probe will approach 1000 km from the moon Ganymede

« Juno carries a suite of sensitive instruments capable of seeing Ganymede in ways never before possible “Scott Bolton, a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a NASA statement. ” By flying so close we will bring Ganymede exploration into the 21st century ” he added.

Ganymede is a fascinating moon for scientists. Despite its status, it is larger than the tiny planet Mercury. She is also the only moon to sport a magnetic field, a bubble of charged particles called magnetosphere. So far, the only spacecraft to have captured a good glimpse of Ganymede were NASA’s Voyager twin probes in 1979 and the Galileo spacecraft, which flew over the moon in 2000.

See also: Jupiter: check out these incredible images of the planet’s atmosphere

During the flyby, several instruments of the spacecraft will observe Ganymede. Including three different cameras, radio instruments, the ultraviolet spectrograph (UVS), the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instruments and the microwave radiometer (MWR). The measurements of the latter instrument will be of particular interest to scientists, who hope to use them to identify the constitution of the Ganymede ice shell.

The huge Jovian moon will also be the primary target of the mission. Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer of the European Space Agency, known as JUICE, which is to be launched next year in order to arrive in the Jupiter system in 2029.

You can see Juno’s location at this address.

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