NASA’s Juno spacecraft has completed yet another flyby of Io, Jupiter’s highly volcanic moon. Coming eerily close to the moon, the small spacecraft was able to capture images of twin volcanic plumes on Io’s surface, sending material erupting into space.
This was the Juno’s second closest flyby to Io. It came within 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) of the moon’s surface. During this stellar rendevous, the spacecraft captured evidence of the various volcanos believed to pockmark the surface of the Jovian moon.
Juno previously captured images of the hellish moon back in 2022, with more images following when the probe came within 920 miles of Io’s surface at the end of 2023. Now, the images of these twin volcanic plumes have enraptured scientists who are trying to understand the volcanic moon.
This flyby produced stunning images of Io’s chaotic terrain, including volcanoes. These can be seen embedded in tweets . As the probe moves towards Io, you can see how the image shifts, showcasing the bright spots where volcanoes exist.
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The team behind the Juno mission is still analyzing the data gathered during this last Io fly-by, but the Southwest Research Institute says that one of the images does in fact reveal the eruption of twin volcanic plumes. It is not known at this point what type of volcanoes they could be linked to.
— landru79 (@landru79) February 3, 2024
Getting closer glimpses at the Jovian moons is one of the most important things that Juno gives us access to, as it will help us learn more about the various moons that orbit our solar system’s gas giant. These moons offer scientists a unique opportunity to study them.