Infrared light, which is not visible to the human eye, provides new information about Ganymede’s icy layer and the composition of the liquid water ocean below.
This is what has offered us, on a tenth anniversary, NASA’s Juno probe, has used its infrared instrument during three recent flybys to map the gigantic moon Ganymede, which orbits Jupiter .
Juno reached 50,109 kilometers from Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, on July 20, 2021. Ganymede is also the only moon in the solar system with its own magnetic field .
Although it has served to map its moon , JIRAM (Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper) was designed to capture infrared light that emerges from the depths of Jupiter, probing the meteorological layer up to 50 to 70 kilometers below the cloud tops. of Jupiter.
As Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio explains:
Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury, but almost everything we explore on this mission to Jupiter is on a monumental scale. Infrared and other data collected by Juno during the flyby contain critical clues for understanding the evolution of Jupiter’s 79 moons from the time of their formation to the present.