NASA Juno spots volcano on Jupiter moon Io

16 Juillet, 2018, 14:12 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • This annotated image highlights the location of the new heat source in the southern hemisphere of the Jupiter moon Io. The image was generated from data collected on Dec. 16 2017 by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper instrument aboard NASA's Jun

This may indicate previously unseen volcano on a small moon of Jupiter, according to the official website of NASA.

The heat source is located close to the south pole of Jupiter's satellite. With its Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument, the Juno spacecraft found a new heat source close to the south pole of Io, NASA said on Saturday. NASA is expecting more clues on the previously undiscovered heat source from the space probe's next flyby.

The infrared data were collected in December a year ago, when Juno was about 470,000 kilometres away from the moon, using its Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument "The new Io hotspot JIRAM picked up is about 200 miles (300 kilometers) from the nearest previously mapped hotspot", said Alessandro Mura, from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy.

Infrared data was collected on December 16, 2017, when Juno was about 4, 70,000 kilometers from the moon. "We do not exclude the movement or modification of previously discovered hot spot, but it is hard to imagine that it could overcome this distance and remain the same", - said Alessandro Mura, member of the research team Juno from the National Institute of astrophysics in Rome. Previous mission studies by NASA, which visited the Jupiter system, as well as ground-based observations have discovered on IO 150 active volcanoes.

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The NASA Juno spacecraft may have spotted a hidden volcano on Io, one of the dozens of moons of Jupiter.

Scientists estimate that there are still about 250 waiting to be discovered.

The image was generated from data gathered by JIRAM on December 16, when Juno came within 290,000 miles (470,000 kilometers) from the Io's surface. Juno has logged almost 235 million kilometres since entering Jupiter's orbit on July 4, 2016.

The Juno mission was launched on August 05, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. As NASA has now made a decision to extend the lifespan of Juno mission until July 2021 more close flybys can be expected in the coming months.

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