The NASA probe Juno will soon spend a month as close as 358 kilometers from Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. While it may not make the trans-dimensional aliens that live inside the monolith from 2001, it will make astronomers happy. The Galileo probe came even closer, 351 kilometers. But Juno has the updated sensory equipment. Here’s more from Centauri Dreams:
The upcoming Europa flyby will reduce Juno’s orbit around Jupiter from 43 to 38 days, and will represent the closest a NASA spacecraft has approached Europa since the days of the Galileo probe. The latter came within 351 kilometers of the moon back in 2000, and we’ve been examining that precious data ever since as we investigate the moon’s surface looking for clues about the ocean underneath. Now we’ll come within 358 kilometers while collecting high-resolution images of portions of the surface.
If passage through the ring tori will be valuable for future missions, so will the additional data on Europa’s ionosphere and its interactions with Jupiter’s magnetosphere help us understand more about this world and its intriguing interior. Juno will throw every science instrument and sensor it has into the effort, from the Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE) to its X-band medium-gain radio antenna. The Jupiter Energetic-Particle Detector Instrument (JEDI) and Magnetometer will collect information about the ionosphere and plasma environment.
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