NASA’s distant spacecraft captures incredibly impressive views of the volcanic world

A new image of the volcanic moon Io captured by NASA’s Juno probe. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Thomas Thomopoulos (CC BY 3.0)

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth lies a world full of lava. It’s Jupiter’s moon Io, and NASA has just made an extraordinary close to Jovian. The space agency’s Juno spacecraft, which orbited giant Jupiter for nine years, recently passed 13,700 miles from the tortured volcanic world, home to the most volcanoes in our solar system, and capture live images. For reference, our chalk moon is about 239,000 miles from Earth. The images below, taken on July 30 by NASA’s JunoCam – a powerful camera aboard the Juno spacecraft – have been fine-tuned by image processing experts and hobbyists, and NASA posted them on the Mission website. Here are some of the most detailed views of Io ever recorded.

Io is covered by erupting volcanoes as it is locked in a constant dispute between nearby objects. “Not only is the largest planet in the solar system still pulling it by gravity, but Io’s Galilean sibling – Europa and the largest moon in the solar system, Ganymede,” NASA explained in a statement. “As a result, Io is continuously stretched and compressed, activities associated with the creation of lava erupting from its many volcanoes.” Most of the dark spots you see below are regions of lava from Io’s volcanoes. With each passage of Io, planetary scientists can see them change and grow.

Earlier this year, researchers discovered new lava flows, like those around the “Volund” volcanic feature. The expansion is visible as Juno now captures the most detailed views of Io since 2007 (when another spacecraft, New Horizons, zoomed in on its way to deeper space and Pluto). King). “Io is known for its extreme volcanic activity, but after 16 years, it’s amazing,” said Jason Perry, a technician at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory who worked on the project. when witnessing these changes at close range. teams for many of NASA’s missions, said in a statement. These most recent images come from the probe’s 53rd flight around Jupiter. And there’s more volcanic excitement to come.