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Thursday, February 2, 2023

NASA Releases New Image of Jupiter’s Moon Io

The image shows flowing lava and lava lakes on the surface

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED STATES: A photo shot by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometres) away shows Jupiter’s moon Io in infrared light. 

The image, taken on July 5 and made public by the American space agency on Wednesday, shows flowing lava and lava lakes.

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As part of its ongoing investigation of Jupiter’s inner moons, NASA had previously announced that its Juno mission would take pictures of the Jovian moon Io on December 15. 

“The Juno team is quite excited about the mission’s extension, including the study of Jupiter’s moons. We have learned a plethora of new information with each near flyby,” said Scott Bolton, the lead scientist on the Juno mission at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. 

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Juno sensors are made to study Jupiter, but we’ve been amazed at how well they can serve a dual purpose by viewing Jupiter’s moons, he continued.

Io is described as “a real volcanic wonderland with hundreds of erupting volcanoes spouting tonnes of molten lava” and sulphurous gases at any given time by the mission known as Io Volcano Observer (IVO). 

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Due to Jupiter’s enormous gravitational pull and the passing orbital tugs of sister moons Europa and Ganymede, Io is subject to ferocious tides that strain and destroy the moon as it moves along its elliptical route.

 Scott Bolton, the Juno spacecraft’s lead investigator, was quoted during a press conference at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union “Volcanic hotspots can be seen. Over the length of the primary mission, which included more than 30 orbits, we could track how this changed and developed.”

Additionally, Bolton stated that the polar part of the planet has more volcanic spots than the equatorial zone.

According to NASA, this examination of Jupiter’s moon is the first of nine flybys, two of which will occur from a distance of barely 1,500 kilometres (930 miles). 

According to a press statement from the spacecraft’s operator, Juno, “Juno scientists will utilise those flybys to execute the first high-resolution monitoring campaign on the magma-encrusted moon, examining Io’s volcanoes and how volcanic outbursts interact with Jupiter’s strong magnetosphere and aurora.”

Also Read: Scientists Believe Jupiter’s Moon Europa May Have More Water Than Earth

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  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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