24/7 Space News
OUTER PLANETS
NASA's Juno mission closing in on Io
This JunoCam image of the Jovian moon Io was collected during Juno's flyby of the moon on March 1, 2023. At the time of closest approach, Juno was about 32,000 miles (51,500 kilometers) away from Io. Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS Image processing: Kevin M. Gill (CC BY).
NASA's Juno mission closing in on Io
by Staff Writers
San Antonio TX (SPX) May 16, 2023

NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly past Jupiter's volcanic moon Io on Tuesday, May 16, and then the gas giant itself soon after. The flyby of the Jovian moon will be the closest to date, at an altitude of about 22,060 miles (35,500 kilometers). Now in the third year of its extended mission to investigate the interior of Jupiter, the solar-powered spacecraft will also explore the ring system where some of the gas giant's inner moons reside.

To date, Juno has performed 50 flybys of Jupiter and also collected data during close encounters with three of the four Galilean moons - the icy worlds Europa and Ganymede, and fiery Io.

"Io is the most volcanic celestial body that we know of in our solar system," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "By observing it over time on multiple passes, we can watch how the volcanoes vary - how often they erupt, how bright and hot they are, whether they are linked to a group or solo, and if the shape of the lava flow changes."

Slightly larger than Earth's moon, Io is a world in constant torment. Not only is the biggest planet in the solar system forever pulling at it gravitationally, but so are its Galilean siblings - Europa and the biggest moon in the solar system, Ganymede. The result is that Io is continuously stretched and squeezed, actions linked to the creation of the lava seen erupting from its many volcanoes.

While Juno was designed to study Jupiter, its many sensors have additionally provided a wealth of data on the planet's moons. Along with its visible light imager JunoCam, the spacecraft's JIRAM (Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper), SRU (Stellar Reference Unit), and MWR (Microwave Radiometer) will be studying Io's volcanoes and how volcanic eruptions interact with Jupiter's powerful magnetosphere and auroras.

"We are entering into another amazing part of Juno's mission as we get closer and closer to Io with successive orbits. This 51st orbit will provide our closest look yet at this tortured moon," said Bolton. "Our upcoming flybys in July and October will bring us even closer, leading up to our twin flyby encounters with Io in December of this year and February of next year, when we fly within 1,500 kilometers of its surface. All of these flybys are providing spectacular views of the volcanic activity of this amazing moon. The data should be amazing."

A "Half-Century" at Jupiter
During its flybys of Jupiter, Juno has zoomed low over the planet's cloud tops - as close as about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers). Approaching the planet from over the north pole and exiting over the south during these flybys, the spacecraft uses its instruments to probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover, studying Jupiter's interior and auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere.

Juno has been orbiting Jupiter for more than 2,505 Earth days and flown over 510 million miles (820 million kilometers). The spacecraft arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The first science flyby occurred 53 days later, and the spacecraft continued with that orbital period until its flyby of Ganymede on June 7, 2021, which reduced its orbital period to 43 days. The Europa flyby on Sept. 29, 2022, reduced the orbital period to 38 days. After the next two Io flybys, on May 16 and July 31, Juno's orbital period will remain fixed at 32 days.

"Io is only one of the celestial bodies which continue to come under Juno's microscope during this extended mission," said Juno's acting project manager, Matthew Johnson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "As well as continuously changing our orbit to allow new perspectives of Jupiter and flying low over the nightside of the planet, the spacecraft will also be threading the needle between some of Jupiter's rings to learn more about their origin and composition."

Related Links
Juno at SwRI
Juno at NASA
The million outer planets of a star called Sol

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters
Tweet

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
OUTER PLANETS
New video series captures team working on NASA's Europa Clipper
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 03, 2023
Destined for Jupiter's icy moon Europa, the Europa Clipper spacecraft - the largest NASA has ever flown on an interplanetary mission - is being readied to launch in October 2024. Between now and then, thousands of hours of work will go into assembling and testing the spacecraft to ensure it's hardy enough to survive a six-year 1.6-billion-mile (2.6 billion kilometer) journey and sophisticated enough to perform a detailed science investigation of this mysterious moon. The new video series "Spacecra ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
OUTER PLANETS
Cosmonauts wrap up 5-hour ISS spacewalk

NASA harnesses US Navy spinning device to simulate spaceflight

Ax-2 crew carrying personal, cultural mementoes on launch to ISS

Research announcement for technology development leveraging ISS is open for concepts

OUTER PLANETS
Virgin Orbit receives more than 30 indications of interest under court approved bid procedures

For 191st time, SpaceX booster successfully returns after launch

Momentus signs launch package with SpaceX

Gilmour Space Technologies forges head as PM opens new rockets factory

OUTER PLANETS
Remotely waiting in Gale: Sols 3832-3833

Perseverance captures view of Mars' Belva Crater

Martian crust like heavy armour

What's so special about large grains on Mars

OUTER PLANETS
China's next space exploration to feature new faces

"Tianzhou Express" is online again, with five highlights

Tianzhou 6 docks with Tiangong space station

China's cargo craft Tianzhou 6 ready for launch

OUTER PLANETS
Arlula secures $2.2 million in seed funding to enable global space data access

UK leads Europe in race for space investment, new report finds

Sidus Space contracts with Leaf Space for additional ground station coverage

UAE partnerships boost commercial space opportunities

OUTER PLANETS
Momentus deploys Qosmosys satellite and on-orbit support of Caltech hosted payload

GPR announces Series A funding on back of customer traction

Origami heat shield: reusable for reentries

Safeguarding space infrastructure

OUTER PLANETS
Astronomers observe the first radiation belt seen outside of our solar system

NASA's Spitzer, TESS find potentially volcano-covered Earth-size world

Researchers uncover how primordial proteins formed on prebiotic earth

Bacteria survive on radioactive elements

OUTER PLANETS
Pioneer 11, launched 50 years ago, helped solve mysteries of the universe

NASA's Juno mission closing in on Io

NASA: Up to 4 of Uranus' moons could have water

New video series captures team working on NASA's Europa Clipper

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.