Juno, the space probe responsible for exploring Jupiter, has a new destiny. The ship will soon head towards Europa, one of the gas giant’s most popular moons, whose icy crust contains elements that may be the key to the existence of life. For this reason, NASA has detailed plans to study it, and Juno promises to take pictures of the satellite like never before.
Despite its popularity, The moon Europa hasn’t been a photographic protagonist for decades.. However, on September 29, everything will change. According to NASA plans, Juno will approach the satellite on the appointed day and begin taking screenshots of its surface, albeit with an emphasis on certain areas that catch the eye of researchers.
But a pretty face is not the only thing Europe has to offer. According to scientists who have studied it for decades, “a salty ocean lies beneath the surface of its kilometer-long layer of ice“NASA comments in a statement. This could make the moon one of the regions of the solar system best prepared for life below its surface.
Juno’s Journey: From Jupiter to Europe
To reach Europe, Juno will have to make a journey of just over three and a half days, which separates the two bodies (670,900 kilometers), although it is expected to arrive earlier due to its speed of 23.6 kilometers per second. The spacecraft will land about 358 kilometers from the surface of the satellite.a place where he will take new images in a resolution he has never shot before.
Juno, on the other hand, isn’t just ready to take amazing photos. The rest of the probe tools will also be ready, so be able to study the composition and temperature of the Europa ice sheet. Similarly, he will be tasked with learning more about the Moon’s ionosphere, a very important part of its atmosphere.
This data collection will begin prior to the photo session. Specifically, when Juno is about 83,397 kilometers away. natural satellite of Jupiter.
“Juno’s Microwave Radiometer (MWR) will delve into Europa’s icy crust, collecting data on its composition and temperature. Such data is being collected to study the lunar icy crust for the first time.”
The probe reached Jupiter in 2016 and its mission was extended into 2021. was preparing to study the rings of this gas giant, as well as its largest satellites. In fact, he has already explored Ganymede and his next destination will be Europe.
Secondly, This will be the first time a spacecraft has approached a satellite this close since 2000.when the Galileo probe was about 351 kilometers from its surface. However, although Juno will be at a somewhat greater distance, the quality of the latter’s cameras is vastly superior to those Galileo carried with him at the beginning of the millennium.