His closest approach to Jupiter’s moon IO carried out NASA’s Juno mission, coming within 22,060 miles (35,500 kilometers) of the satellite. Now in the third year of his extended mission To investigate the interior of Jupiter, the solar-powered spacecraft will also explore the ring system where some of the gas giant’s inner moons reside.
To date, Juno has made 50 flybys of Jupiter and has also collected data during close encounters with three of the four. Galilean moons – the icy worlds Europa and Ganymede, and the fiery Io.
“Io is the most volcanic celestial body we know of in our solar system,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “By looking at it over time in multiple passes, we can look at how volcanoes vary: how often they erupt, how bright and hot they are, whether they are linked to a group or alone, and whether the shape of the flow changes. wash”.
“We are entering another incredible part of the Juno mission as we get closer and closer to Io with successive orbits. This 51 orbit will provide our closest look yet at this tortured moon,” Bolton said. “Our next flybys in July and October will bring us even closer, ahead of our twin flyby encounters with Io in December this year and February next year, when we fly within 1,500 kilometers of its surface. All of these flybys are providing spectacular views of the volcanic activity on this incredible moon. The data should be staggering.”
Juno has been orbiting Jupiter for more than 2,505 Earth days and has flown more than 510 million miles (820 million kilometers). The spacecraft arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The First scientific flyby occurred 53 days later, and the spacecraft continued with that orbital period until its Ganymede flyby on June 7, 2021, which reduced its orbital period to 43 days. He flyby of europe on September 29, 2022, it reduced the orbital period to 38 days. After the next two flybys of Io, on May 16 and July 31, Juno’s orbital period will remain fixed at 32 days.
“Io is just one of the celestial bodies that will continue to come under Juno’s microscope during this extended mission,” said interim Juno project manager Matthew Johnson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “In addition to continually changing our orbit to allow new perspectives of Jupiter and flying low over the night side of the planet, the spacecraft will also thread the needle between some of Jupiter’s rings to learn more about their origin and composition.”