NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured infrared images of Jupiter’s moon Io from a distance of 80,000 km. how much.
The image, taken on July 5 and released on Wednesday, shows the shapes of lava flows and lava lakes as bright red spots.
“You can see the volcanic hotspots. During the probe’s main mission — 30 orbits of the Moon — we’ve been able to watch them change and evolve,” Scott Bolton, principal investigator for NASA’s Juno program, said during a news conference at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting.
NASA has discovered that there are hundreds of volcanoes on the surface of Io. Surprisingly, Bolton said, scientists found more volcanic sites in its polar region than in the equatorial region.
The Juno space probe has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016. After exploring the gas giant Juno, it flew by its moon Ganymede in 2021, and earlier this year passed by Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons – ed.).
On Dec. 15, the spacecraft is scheduled to reexamine Io, which NASA says is “the most volcanic place in the solar system.” This is the first of nine Juno flights planned over the next year and a half.
Scientists hope to collect more data on the moon’s volcanism and magnetism, because the interaction of these forces as it approaches the planet creates Jupiter’s aurora borealis.
“As we watch the volcanoes change and their activity increases or decreases, we see that they drive Jupiter’s massive magnetosphere,” Bolton said Wednesday.
The aurora borealis are colorful light shows that are not unique to Earth. According to NASA, the brightest aurora borealis in the solar system occur on Jupiter.
On both Earth and Jupiter, auroras are created when charged particles such as protons or electrons interact with the planet’s surrounding magnetic field, known as the magnetosphere. Jupiter’s magnetic field is about 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s.
The data and insights Juno has collected could aid future missions to study Jupiter’s moons, such as NASA’s Clipper mission, which will investigate whether Europa could harbor life.
Translation: Dorothy Salus
Above is the translation American Insider article.
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