NASA's JUNO Captures First Images Of Jupiter Moon Ganymede's North Pole

 - Sakshi Post

NASA's Juno Jupiter probe captured some of the rare views of the largest moon in the solar system. During the near flyby of Jupiter on Dec. 26, 2019, Juno mapped the northern polar regions of the icy Ganymede in infrared light, something that no other spacecraft has achieved before. The data collected by Juno using its Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument display that the northern reaches of Ganymede are very different from  the locations closer to the equator of the moon, which is larger than the planet Mercury.

Ganymede is largely made up of h2o ice and it is bigger than the world Mercury. It is made in such a way to understand the evolution of the 79 Jovian Moons from the time of their creation to the present day.

Ganymede has its own magnetic field and it is also the only moon in the solar program. On Earth, the magnetic field provides a mechanism for plasma (charged solar particles) to penetrate our atmosphere and create aurora. As Ganymede has no ambiance to hinder their growth, the surface of its poles is constantly bombarded with plasma from Jupiter's gigantic magnetosphere."

Alessandro Mura, a Juno co-investigator at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome said that, "The JIRAM data indicate that the ice in and around Ganymede's north pole has been affected by plasma precipitation." He further added that, "It's a phenomenon that we've been able to know it for the first time with Juno, because we're able to see the North Pole in its entirety."

The $1.1 billion Juno probe was launched in August 2011. It arrived at Jupiter in July 2016 and the main aim of this Juno Probe is to help researchers understand the composition, structure, formation, and evolution of the giant planet.

Juno flies around Jupiter in a strongly elliptical orbit and gathers data during close passes that occur every 53.5 Earth days. The North Pole of Ganymede happened to be in Juno 's vision during December 2019 encounter. The mission team redirected the probe, allowing it to study the mysterious region with JIRAM and other instruments.

The project team members said that, "Juno has obtained about 300 infrared photographs from a distance of approximately 62,000 miles (100,000 km). The photos have a resolution of approximately 14 miles (23 km) per pixel."

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