NASA has just released the first images of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, taken during a flight over the Juno spacecraft.
Juno passed Ganymede on June 7, making its closest approach about 1,000 kilometers from its surface while traveling at 66,800 kilometers per hour. It is the closest probe to the moon since Galileo in 2000. The image above was taken by JunoCam, capturing almost an entire side of Ganymede at a resolution of 1 km per pixel. Another published image was taken by the Stellar Reference Unit, showing part of the dark side of the moon lit by Jupiter itself. More images will be available in the coming days.
Ganymede is of particular interest to scientists for a number of reasons. It has a metallic core and is the only moon in the solar system to have its own magnetic field (although it is pretty well buried by the magnetic field generated by the giant Jupiter).