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Juno spacecraft captures Ganymede

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NASA's Juno spacecraft passed close to Ganymede, the largest satellite of Jupiter and our entire solar system, and sent to Earth the first close-ups of the distant frozen moon-mammoth two decades ago.

Picture by NASA

Ganymede is the largest, brightest, and largest natural satellite of the planet Jupiter and the Solar System, with a diameter of 5,268 kilometers. It is even larger than the planet Mercury and the dwarf planet Pluto. Pluto was discovered by Galileo on January 7th, 1610.

The surface of Ganymede is a mixture of two different types of soils. One is very old, with many craters and dark areas, and a newer one with bright areas marked by an extensive arc of cracks and streaks of tectonic origin although our details are still unknown. The dark soil, which covers about a third of the surface, contains clay and organic matter that could indicate the composition of the objects with which the two satellites collided.

An important discovery of Galileo was the existence of a magnetosphere on Ganymede, which means that this satellite has its magnetic field. Due to this magnetic field, the existence of a fluid core of iron or conductive saltwater under its icy crust is also possible. Other measurements showed us the possible existence of an ionosphere while below the ionosphere there must be a very thin and sparse atmosphere.

The Juno approached about 1,000 kilometers above Ganymede, collected data, and recorded detailed images of its surface. Analysis of the data and new images that may reveal new data about the satellite is now expected.

NASA's Juno spacecraft passed close to Ganymede, the largest satellite of Jupiter and our entire solar system, and sent to Earth the first close-ups of the distant frozen moon-mammoth two decades ago.

Picture by NASA

Ganymede has aroused particular interest in the scientific community because they believe that he has a huge ocean beneath its icy surface and in fact the water never freezes due to the movement of the waves. If the hypothesis is proven, then the chances of the existence of life forms increase, because we have similar examples on our planet (organisms that do not see the Sun). 

Equally important is the fact that Ganymede is the only satellite that has its own magnetic field due to its metal core, with researchers estimating that it enhances the chances of life because it provides another safety net.

According to Scott Bolton, head of research at Juno, NASA:

We are now closer than ever to the giant satellite. We will take our time before reaching scientific conclusions, but until then we can simply enjoy this celestial miracle, the only satellite in the Solar System that is larger than the planet Mercury.

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