The Juno apparatus will be the spacecraft that will visit Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede. Previously, only the probe Gallileo approached it more than two decades ago.
Juno will pass within 1,038 kilometers of the moon’s surface on June 7 and will collect data on its composition, ionosphere, magnetosphere and ice shell. Ganymede is the only moon in our solar system that has its own magnetic field. The moon consists of three layers: a sphere of metallic iron in the center that generates the magnetic field, a layer of rock surrounding the core, and an outer layer consisting of thick ice.
There are rocky areas on the surface, or “dirty ice,” as researchers call it. There may be water underneath the ice, and scientists have already found strong evidence of an underground ocean on Ganymede. The MWR probe’s instrument will provide the first in-depth study of how ice composition and structure change with depth.
“On Monday, the probe will fly past Ganymede at nearly 19 kilometers per second. Less than 24 hours later, it will make its 33rd scientific flyby past Jupiter – low over the cloud tops. It’s going to be a wild ride,” – Juno mission manager Matt Johnson said.