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Current Affairs > Science and Technology > 2019-01-03 > Science and Technology

NASAís Juno probe captures volcanic plumes on Jupiterís moon Io

What in news:

         NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft has beamed back new images of volcanic plume on Jupiter's moon Io.

About news:

         NASAís solar-powered Juno spacecraft has beamed back new images of volcanic plume on Jupiterís moon Io, captured during the missionís 17th flyby of the gas giant.

         On December 21, during winter solstice, four of Junoís cameras captured images of the Jovian moon Io, the most volcanic body in our solar system.

         JunoCam, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU), the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) and the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) observed Io for over an hour, providing a glimpse of the moonís polar regions as well as evidence of an active eruption.

         This is quite a New Yearís present showing us that Juno has the ability to clearly see plumes,Ē said Bolton, associate vice president of Southwest Research Instituteís Space Science and Engineering Division.

About Junoís Image:

         The images show the moon half-illuminated with a bright spot seen just beyond the terminator, the day-night boundary.

         The ground is already in shadow, but the height of the plume allows it to reflect sunlight.

         After Io had passed into the darkness of total eclipse behind Jupiter, sunlight reflecting off nearby moon Europa helped to illuminate Io and its plume.

         The brightest feature on Io in the image is thought to be a penetrating radiation signature, a reminder of this satelliteís role in feeding Jupiterís radiation belts, while other features show the glow of activity from several volcanoes

         The images can lead to new insights into the gas giantís interactions with its five moons, causing phenomena such as Ioís volcanic activity or freezing of the moonís atmosphere.

         Ioís volcanoes were discovered by NASAís Voyager spacecraft in 1979.

         Ioís gravitational interaction with Jupiter drives the moonís volcanoes, which emit umbrella-like plumes of SO2 gas and produce extensive basaltic lava fields.

         The solar-powered Juno features eight scientific instruments designed to study Jupiterís interior structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

About Juno spacecraft:

         Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter.

         It was built by Lockheed Martin and is operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

         Juno's mission is to measure Jupiter's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.

         Its features JunoCam, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU), the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) and the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS).

         Juno is the first mission to Jupiter to use solar panels instead of the radioisotope thermoelectric generators.

About Io moon of Jupiter:

         Io is the fifth moon of Jupiter and the fourth largest moon in the solar system.

         It is the innermost of the Galilean moons that orbit Jupiter.

         Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system, spewing out sulphur as high as 300 km (190 miles) in the air.

         Like Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, Io was discovered in 1610 by the Italian scientist Galileo.

Expected prelims question

Io, Europa, Ganymedeetc. Are

a)       Exoplanets

b)      Asteroids

c)       Moons

d)      Dwarf planets

Ans - c

Expected mains question :

Discuss Juno probeís mission and add a note on its various explorations.