NASA just made a close flyby of Jupiter’s most intriguing moon - Ars Technica

NASA just made a close flyby of Jupiter’s most intriguing moon - Ars Technica

NASA just made a close flyby of Jupiter’s most intriguing moon - Ars Technica
Sep 29, 2022 53 secs

On Thursday morning, NASA's Juno spacecraft swooped down to within 358 km of the surface of Europa, the large, ice-encrusted Moon that orbits Jupiter.

This flyby will provide humanity its closest look at Europa since the Galileo mission made several close flybys more than two decades ago.

After it successfully completed its primary mission in 2021, Juno's mission operators have begun using the probe to assess moons in the Jovian system, including Europa, Ganymede, and Io.

Given Juno's existing orbit and Jupiter's massive gravity field, the orbital dynamics of the Europa flyby are challenging, to say the least, and Juno had to make significant modifications to its trajectory.

"The relative velocity between spacecraft and moon will be 23.6 kilometers per second, so we are screaming by pretty fast," said John Bordi, Juno deputy mission manager at JPL.

The visual imagery and scientific data will help inform NASA scientists who are completing assembly of the Europa Clipper, a large spacecraft due to launch in 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket.

Images should start returning from Juno's flyby of Europa in the next several days.

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