A new image, obtained by Juno while flying over Europa, shows in detail a part of Jupiter’s moon. We admire the star’s frozen crust and its surprising irregularities.
It is the highest resolution image (256 to 340 m per pixel) of the moon Europa, which revolves around Jupiter, ever captured by the Juno mission. This incredibly accurate photo of the star was unveiled on October 5, 2022 by NASA. The snapshot may have been obtained during a flyby of the probe by Juno. It’s been 20 years since we had a picture so close to Europe.
In this very close view of the surface of Europa, only a part of the planet’s natural satellite is visible. It concerns ” of a bewildering region of the moon’s highly fractured ice crust “, Describes the space agency. The photo covers an area of about 150 by 200 km of the star’s surface. It reveals, summarizes NASA, ” a region furrowed by a network of thin furrows and double ridges. “
What do we see in this image of the moon Europa?
Darker areas of the image may be ” material brought from the depths “, relief Thomas Appéré, Ph.D. in planetology, on Twitter. As for the multiple white spots that can be seen, it could be ” blocks of ice “, Again according to the expert.
When the mission obtained this snapshot, Juno was 412 km from the frozen surface of Europa. The ship was therefore moving at a speed of 24 km per second. The part of the moon we see is immersed in the night, but is dimly illuminated by the brightness of Jupiter (the light of the Sun is reflected from the top of the clouds of the giant planet). The instrument used is a camera called SRU (“Stellar Reference Unit”).
Europa is the sixth largest moon in the entire solar system. It is believed that under its very thick ice crust lies an ocean. The question of the habitability of this moon of Jupiter arises regularly. Europa is one of the places in the solar system that seems most likely to sustain life (which doesn’t mean the moon is actually inhabited). Scientists will still have opportunities in the future to better understand this celestial body: the Europa Clipper mission is expected to arrive in the area in the early 1930s.