The first of the Nasa Juno orbiter’s back-to-back flyby will offer a much closer look at Jupiter’s largest moon after more than twenty years.
On 7 June, the Juno spacecraft would come under 654 miles of Ganymede’s surface (the Jupiter’s massive moon). The flyby would be the nearest that any spacecraft has been to Jupiter since the Nasa’s Galileo spacecraft took a close approach on 20 May, 2000. Besides the stunning imagery, Juno will provide insights in the moon’s ionosphere, ice shell, magnetosphere and composition. The measurements of radiation environment taken by Juno close to the moon will also help the next-gen missions conducted to the planet.
Ganymede is larger than Mercury as well as is the sole moon in our solar system that has its magnetosphere.
Juno has an array of sensitive instruments on-board that are capable of observing Ganymede in never-seen-before ways, said Principal Investigator of Juno, Scott Bolton. By flying the spacecraft so close, Juno will be able to get information that can help prepare for the future mission to Jupiter- European Space Agency’s JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission and Nasa’s Europa Clipper mission, said Bolton.
The science instruments of Juno will start gathering info around 3 hours before the spacecraft makes its closest approach.