NASA's Juno mission just observed a volcanic plume on Io

NASA’s Juno mission just observed a volcanic plume on Io


On its mission to explore Jupiter’s system, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has observed and captured a breathtaking image of an active volcanic plume erupting from Io’s Prometheus volcano. This remarkable photo, taken during Juno’s closest flyby of Io on July 30, offers an unprecedented view of one of the most geologically active places in our Solar System.

The Closest Flyby and the Volcanic Capture

During its latest flyby, Juno ventured only 22,000 kilometers from Io’s surface, enabling the onboard JunoCam camera to capture the astonishing details of an active volcanic plume. This image, complemented by data from the Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) and other scientific instruments, is set to provide deep insights into the hundreds of erupting volcanoes spewing molten lava and sulfurous gases across this unique moon, according to NASA.


Io’s Geological Marvels

Jupiter’s third-largest moon, Io, with a diameter of 3,600 kilometers, stands out as the Solar System’s most geologically active object. Hosting around 400 active volcanoes, Io exhibits the highest density among all satellites and, intriguingly, holds the record for having the least amount of water proportionately among all known objects in the Solar System.

Juno’s Journey to the Jovian System

Launched in 2011, the Juno mission reached Jupiter in 2016. With the primary focus on understanding Jupiter’s atmosphere, origin, structure, and evolution, Juno’s design facilitates the study of the giant planet’s many intriguing aspects. Its particular orbit not only allows examination of Jupiter itself but also grants close approaches to its main moons, uncovering secrets that were previously out of reach.

This incredible snapshot of Io’s volcanic activity, captured by Juno’s close flyby, opens up a new window into the mysteries of the Jovian system. The details and data gathered promise to enrich our understanding of this fascinating moon, and the entire mission continues to showcase the endless possibilities of space exploration.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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