Spacecraft buzzes Jupiter’s mega moon, 1st close-up in years


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Juno spacecraft has provided the first close-ups of Jupiter’s largest moon in two decades.

Juno zoomed past icy Ganymede on Monday, passing within 645 miles (1,038 kilometers). The last time a spacecraft came that close was in 2000 when NASA’s Galileo spacecraft swept past our solar system’s biggest moon.

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NASA released Juno’s first two pictures Tuesday, highlighting Ganymede’s craters and long, narrow features possibly related to tectonic faults. One shows the moon’s far side, opposite the sun.

This June 7, 2021 image made available by NASA shows the Jovian moon Ganymede as the Juno spacecraft flies by. "This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation," said Juno's lead scientist, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS via AP)

This June 7, 2021 image made available by NASA shows the Jovian moon Ganymede as the Juno spacecraft flies by. “This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation,” said Juno’s lead scientist, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS via AP)

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