The image was taken by the Juno spacecraft.

Next December 30, 2023, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will make its closest flyby of the volcanic moon Iothe closest Galilean moon to Jupiter.

The results expected to be obtained from this great step are aimed at enabling Juno instruments to generate large amount of data.

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The spacecraft will reach approximately 1,500 kilometers from the surface of the solar system’s most volcanic planet. As mentioned, never before This type of spacecraft has come this close to the Sun in more than 20 years.

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According to Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, in a statement on NasaNet: “By combining data from this flyby with our previous observations, the Juno science team is studying how Io’s volcanoes are changing.”

Additionally, Bolton added: “We’re studying how often they erupt, how bright and hot they are, how the shape of the lava flow changes, and how this activity relates to the flow of charged particles in Jupiter’s magnetosphere.“.

(You can read: NASA will study the “God of Chaos” asteroid that will pass very close to Earth).

Will there be more overpasses?

On February 3, 2024, the second flyby will actually occur, Juno will again approach 1,500 kilometers to the surface.

Importantly, the spacecraft on this mission was responsible for monitoring Io’s volcanic activity from distances ranging from approximately 11,000 kilometers to more than 100,000 kilometers.

Based on the foregoing, The first images of the Moon’s north and south poles were provided.

“The spacecraft also made close flybys of the icy moons of Jupiter, Ganymede and Europa,” the previously mentioned magazine reported.

“During our two close flybys in December and February, Juno will explore the source of Io’s massive volcanic activity, whether there is an ocean of magma beneath its crust, and the importance of Jupiter’s tidal forces that relentlessly squeeze this tortured moon,” Bolton said. .

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The spacecraft is expected to conduct several eclipse experiments in April 2024, using Juno’s Gravity Science experiment to study the composition of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.

The above will provide key information about The shape and internal structure of the planet Jupiter.

Thanks to the three cameras on board Juno, the Jovian Infrared Aurora Mapper (Jiram), which takes images in the infrared range, will collect heat signals emitted by the volcanoes and calderas that cover the lunar surface.

“The cumulative effects of all this radiation have begun to show up in JunoCam over the last few orbits,” said Ed Hurst, Juno project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

He added: “Images from the latest flyby show a reduction in the camera’s dynamic range and the appearance of banding noise. “Our team of engineers is working on solutions to reduce radiation damage and ensure the imager remains operational.”

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After months of assessment and study, the Juno team and researchers began adjusting the trajectory and future planning for approximately seven new distant flybys of Io. This is known as the extended mission plan.

After a close flyby on February 3, the spacecraft will fly around Io in alternating orbits andeach orbit will become increasingly distant: the first will be approximately 16,500 kilometers above Io.and the latter will be at a distance of about 115,000 kilometers.



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