Astronomers Take Their Closest Look At Jupiter’s Moon Europa in Decades

Astronomers Take Their Closest Look At Jupiter’s Moon Europa in Decades

Europa is one of the 80 confirmed moons that orbit Jupiter, and it also represents a major point of interest for astronomers. That’s because the surface of the moon mostly consists of water ice, and there are even high chances that an ocean of liquid water dwells beneath. 

The presence of liquid water automatically means potential for sustaining life. No life as we know it is able to survive without water in liquid form. Thanks to a recent mission of NASA, humanity got its closest view of Europa in a few decades.

NASA’s Juno mission takes a close look at the Europa moon

Yesterday morning (September 29), the guys from NASA were curious enough to send the Juno spacecraft for a close flyby (less than 219 miles away from the surface) towards Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The outcome was the closest look astronomers had at the moon in 20 years, as ScienceAlert reveals.

Candy Hansen, a co-investigator at Juno, said during a press release.

The science team will be comparing the full set of images obtained by Juno with images from previous missions, looking to see if Europa’s surface features have changed over the past two decades,

The JunoCam images will fill in the current geologic map, replacing existing low-resolution coverage of the area.

The Europa moon has an equatorial diameter of 1,940 miles, making it almost the same size as our own Moon. However, the moon of Jupiter is about 90% smaller, although it still qualifies as the sixth-largest moon in our Solar System.

There’s no wonder why Jupiter has so many moons compared to Earth. The gas giant is incredibly huge – so huge that 1,300 planets the size of Earth would fit inside of it.

The Juno mission was launched over a decade ago to study Jupiter, the biggest planet in our Solar System – in 2011, to be more precise. 

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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