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Juno Gets Close-Ups of Jupiter's Biggest Moon

They're the first shots of Ganymede since 2000
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2021 5:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – NASA’s Juno spacecraft has provided the first close-ups of Jupiter’s largest moon in two decades. Juno zoomed past icy Ganymede on Monday, passing within 645 miles. The last time a spacecraft came that close was in 2000 when NASA’s Galileo spacecraft swept past our solar system’s biggest moon. NASA released Juno’s first two pictures Tuesday, highlighting Ganymede’s craters and long, narrow features possibly related to tectonic faults. One shows the moon's far side, opposite the sun, the AP reports. "This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation," said Juno's lead scientist, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

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"This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation,” said Juno's lead scientist, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "We are going to take our time before we draw any scientific conclusions, but until then we can simply marvel at this celestial wonder—the only moon in our solar system bigger than the planet Mercury." Ganymede, first discovered by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610, is one of 79 known moons around Jupiter, a gas giant. Launched a decade ago, Juno has been orbiting Jupiter for five years.

(Read more Ganymede stories.)

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