NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured an infrared image of Jupiter’s moon Io from 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers).
In the image, taken on July 5 and released on Wednesday, you can see the formations of lava flows and lava pools as red spots.
“You could see the molar hotspots. We were able to monitor the course of the primary mission – over 30 orbits – how it changes and evolves,” Scott Bolton, principal investigator of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, said in a press event at the American Geophysical Union meeting on Wednesday.
It is home to hundreds of volcanoes found by NASA. Surprisingly, scientists have found more volcanic spots in the polar region than in the equatorial region of the planet, Bolton said.
The space probe Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016. After studying the giant, Juno will fly by Jupiter’s moon Ganymede in 2021 and this year before Europa.
The spacecraft is scheduled to explore Io, which NASA says is the most rocky place in the solar system, again on December 15. Nine flybys of Juno are planned for the next year and a half.
Scientists hope to gather more data on the moon’s volcanoes and its magnetism — which act as “warrior tugs” to shape Jupiter’s dawn — as they fly.
“When we watch volcanoes change and get more active and less active, they’re driving Jupiter’s giant monster magnetosphere,” Bolton said on Wednesday.
Auroras are joyful displays of light that are not unique to Earth. Jupiter has the brightest aurora in the solar world, according to NASA.
On both Earth and Jupiter, auroras occur when charged particles, such as protons or electrons, interact with the magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, that surrounds the planet. Jupiter’s magnetic field is about twenty thousand miles greater than Earth’s.
He collected data and insights from Juno that could inform future missions to study Jupiter’s moons, such as NASA’s Clipper mission, which will investigate whether Europa can support life.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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