A First Look at the North Pole of the Solar System’s Largest Moon
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) California Institute of Technology, has revealed on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the first images of the north pole the largest moon in the solar system, the Jovian Moon Ganymede.
“The JIRAM data show the ice at and surrounding Ganymede’s north pole has been modified by the precipitation of plasma. It is a phenomenon that we have been able to learn about for the first time with Juno because we are able to see the north pole in its entirety.”
– Alessandro Mura, a Juno co-investigator at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome, NASA JPL News, July 22, 2020
According to NASA, the said infrared images are provided by their Juno spacecraft with its Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument during their December 26, 2019 flyby of Jupiter.
See NASA JPL’s Tweet below for the stunning images of Ganymede’s icy north pole.
For the first time ever, @NASAJuno imaged the north pole of the largest moon in the solar system: Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. https://t.co/IQZxjJpdaI pic.twitter.com/7qxNTgGQA6
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) July 23, 2020
Beginning in 2030, the European Space Agency (ESA) JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission is scheduled to begin a 3 1/2-year exploration of Jupiter’s giant magnetosphere, turbulent atmosphere, and its icy moons which includes Ganymede.
Thus, according to NASA, the secrets of Jupiter’s largest moon as revealed by Juno and its JIRAM will benefit the next mission to the icy world.
Know More About Moon Ganymede
Other than the fact that Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system, here are some other interesting information about the moon as provided by NASA:
- Galileo Galilei discovered Ganymede on January 7, 1610
- Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system that is larger than the planet Mercury
- Ganymede is also the ninth-largest object in the solar system
- Moon Ganymede consists primarily of water ice
- Ganymede, in mythology, was a young boy who was carried to Olympus by Zeus, the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter
- Ganymede is among the 53 named moons of Jupiter, while there are still 26 other moons awaiting official names
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NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA JPL Official Twitter Account
NASA Science Solar System Exploration