Space

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Captures Closest Views of Europa Since 2000

By Aazam

October 27, 2022

Juno's flyby of Europa was the closest since Jan. 3, 2000, when NASA's Galileo spacecraft sailed 218 miles from the moon's icy surface

Europa, slightly smaller than Earth's moon, has a worldwide ice shell over a salty ocean that may be livable

NASA's Europa Clipper probe will launch in 2024 to examine Jupiter's frozen moon and look for life

Europa Clipper will perform approximately 50 flybys of Europa after reaching Jupiter in 2030, approaching its ice crust as close as 16 miles

Juno's science instruments studied Jupiter's atmosphere, magnetic field, and structure. After entering orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016, Juno was the first spacecraft to observe its poles

The Atlas 5 rocket launched the robotic mission from Cape Canaveral on August 5, 2011

Juno's extended orbit is slowly being pulled northward by Jupiter's uneven gravity field

Juno will sail by Ganymede, Europa, and Io, three of Jupiter's largest moons, after its orbit adjustment

Juno sailed by Ganymede on June 7, 2021, and will visit the volcanic moon Io on Dec. 30, 2023, and Feb. 3, 2024

Last year, Europa's gravity tightened Juno's orbit around Jupiter to 38 days and Ganymede's gravity shortened it to 43 days

Our extended expedition included three Galilean satellites and Jupiter's rings, which delighted the scientists.

Juno has nine scientific instruments: a microwave radiometer for atmospheric soundings, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers, particle detectors, a magnetometer, and a radio and plasma waves experiment

JunoCam, a color camera on the Jupiter orbiter, collects visual data for citizen scientists to analyze