NASA’s Juno probe captures fascinating high-resolution images of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa


When NASA’s Juno spacecraft performed its closest approach to Jupiter‘s moon Europa in September 2022, it captured evidence not only for pockets of briny water connected to the world’s deep subsurface ocean, but also for potential scars formed by towering plumes of water vapor — and it caught that evidence on camera

The majority of imagery from the Juno mission is taken by  an instrument called JunoCam, which scientists revealed was able to take four high-resolution images of Europa’s surface as it raced past the icy moon at an altitude of just 355 kilometers (220 miles). The spacecraft also employed its Stellar Reference Unit (SRU), which is normally used for imaging faint stars, to help Juno navigate. On this occasion, however, the SRU’s low-light capabilities were adapted to take one image of the night-side of Europa. This is the side that shines only with light reflected off the cloud-tops of Jupiter — we call it “Jupiter-shine.”

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