A new image of Europa taken at the close pass of the NASA Juno spacecraft

A new image of Europa taken at the close pass of the NASA Juno spacecraft

They may not be spectacular. “aesthetic beauty” Like images posted by James Webb space telescopebut the new image released by NASA Juno space probein orbit Jupiter and recently flew over moon Europestill worth seeing. This is a unique result of its kind because it was shot with a different medium (used to orient yourself) and not with a scientific camera.

NASA Juno Sru

NASA Juno SRU circled in red

At the end of September they released the first images caught with JunoCama device intended to be a high-resolution scientific camera and capable of delivering impressive photographs. Jupiter And Europe. As for the new image that was released and became popular more recently; Star Reference Unit (SRU). This unit has special sensitivity at visible wavelength between 450 nm and 1100 nm and is used to control the behavior of the device. space probe referring to stars identified (a very common system for moons).

New image of Europa surface thanks to NASA Juno

How told by JPL is a photograph of the surface Europe has the highest resolution ever captured NASA Juno space probe. Thanks to the low altitude the satellite was traveling at, it was possible (but still lacking in precision) to photograph the details of the icy surface that hides a kilometer-deep saltwater ocean that could also harbor life.


Click on the picture to enlarge

As written, the altitude was particularly low (412 km) and therefore the recovered surface is only equal to 150 x 200 km. You can see the troughs and icy ridges breaking up the ice sheets. Europe. On the other hand, there may be dark spots caused by geysers previously noted on this Jupiter’s moon. It measures 67 x 37 km, resembling a musical note (as described by NASA).

There are also many white spots in the image, especially at the top edge, which are caused by the interaction of the unit’s photo sensor with high-energy particles. While the resolution of black and white photography varies between 256 m/pixel and 340 m/pixel, NASA Juno flew over Europe at 24 km / h.

Heidi Becker (who runs the SRU) said “This image unlocks an incredible level of detail in a region never before photographed at this resolution and under such revealing lighting conditions. The team’s use of a stargazing camera for Science is a prime example of Juno’s revolutionary capabilities.”.


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