NASA has just released the first images of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, captured during a flyby by the Juno probe.
Juno overtook Ganymede on June 7, making its closest approach about 1,000 kilometers from its surface while traveling at 66,800 kilometers per hour. It’s the closest probe to the Moon since Galileo in 2000. The image above was taken by the JunoCam camera, and it captured nearly an entire side of Ganymede at a resolution of 1 kilometer per pixel. Another image, taken by the Stellar Reference Unit, shows a portion of the moon’s dark side illuminated by Jupiter itself. More pictures will be provided in the coming days.
Ganymede is of particular interest to scientists for a number of reasons. It has a metallic core, and is the only moon in the solar system that has its own magnetic field (although this is well buried by the magnetic field generated by the giant planet Jupiter).