A view of Jupiter's Moon Io. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS.

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Snaps Photo of Jupiter’s Volcanic Moon Io

The Juno spacecraft used its JunoCam instrument to snap this photo of Io from a distance of around 64,000 kilometers from Io's surface.


The Juno mission continues its mission in exploring the Jovian System. The spacecraft has sent spectacular photographs of Jupiter back to Earth. And it continues on its mission to unravel the secrets of this strange planet-moon system. Now, the JunoCam instrument has captured a stunning view of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io. The photograph was taken on December 14. At the time, the spacecraft was at a distance of around 64,000 kilometers from Io’s surface. The photo was published a few weeks later, on December 29, by the Southwest Research Institute. Jupiter’s fifth moon Io is the planet’s closest satellite and the most active volcanic body in our solar system.

Juno records and some trouble

The Juno mission is a true record-breaker and continues to operate above expectations. The Juno spacecraft completed its 47th approach to Jupiter on December 14. However, later that day, while the spacecraft sent its science data to mission controllers on Earth from its onboard computer, the link between Juno and Earth broke down. The problem resulted being the inability to directly access the spacecraft’s memory that stores the scientific data collected during the flyby. The issue was likely caused by a radiation spike when Juno flew through a zone of Jupiter’s magnetosphere with high-intensity radiation. Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully rebooted the computer and, on December 17, put the spacecraft into safe mode. This is a precautionary state in which only essential systems function.

Healthy spacecraft

As of December 22, the efforts to recover the flyby data have yielded positive results. The team is already downloading the scientific data. There is no indication that the scientific data obtained at the time of the closest approach to Jupiter or during the spacecraft’s flyby of Jupiter’s moon Io was negatively affected.


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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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