Moon Io from Spacecraft Juno

Moon Io from Spacecraft Juno

There goes another one! Volcanoes on Jupiter‘s  Io keep erupting. To investigate, NASA‘s robotic Juno spacecraft has begun a series of visits to this very strange moon. Io is about the size of Earth’s moon, but because of gravitational flexing by and other moons, Io’s interior gets heated and its surface has become covered with volcanoes. The featured image is from last week’s flyby, passing within 12,000 kilometers above the dangerously active world. The surface of Io is covered with sulfur and frozen sulfur dioxide, making it appear yellow, orange and brown. As hoped, Juno flew by just as a volcano was erupting — with its faint plume visible near the top of the featured image. Studying Io’s volcanoes and plumes helps humanity better understand how Jupiter’s complex system of moons, rings, and auroras interact. Juno is scheduled to make two flybys of Io during the coming months that are almost 10 times closer: one in December and another in February 2024.


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