Juno gets highest-resolution close-up of Jupiter's moon Europa
Surface features of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa are revealed in an image obtained by Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit (SRU) during the spacecraft’s Sept. 29, 2022, flyby. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI

The first close-up of the ocean world in over two decades was made possible by observations from the moon.

A detailed view of the moon's heavily fractured icy crust can be seen in the highest-resolution photo NASA has ever taken.

The image shows a region of fine grooves and double ridges on the surface of the moon. There are dark stains near the upper right of the image and just to the right and below center. A surface feature that recalls a musical quarter note is below center and to the right. There are white dots in the image that are signatures of high-energy particles.

The black-and-white image was obtained during the flyby of Europa in September of 2022. With a resolution of up to 1,115 feet, the image was captured as Juno raced past at a speed of 24 kilometers per second over a part of the surface that was dimly lit at night.

The SRU has proven to be a valuable science tool, discovering shallow lightning in Jupiter's atmosphere, as well as providing a glimpse of some of the most fascinating geologic formations.

"This image is giving us an incredible level of detail in a region not previously imaged at such resolution and under such revealing illumination conditions," said Becker. The team's use of a star-tracker camera for science is an example of the ground-breaking capabilities of the project. There are so many intriguing features. Understanding how they formed and how they connect to the past informs us about the future.

The data will be analyzed by more than one person in the coming weeks. The data from the science instruments was collected during both the flyby of Europa and the flyby of Jupiter.

Juno was focused on Jupiter from the beginning. The team is really excited that during our extended mission we expanded our investigation to include three of the four Galilean satellites. The close-ups of two of Jupiter's most interesting moons are very different from each other. Io will join the club in 2023. The largest moon in the solar system was sailed by Juno.

The solar system's sixth- largest moon is called Europa and has a diameter of about 90 degrees. Questions about the potential habitability of the ocean are being raised by scientists who believe a salty ocean lies below an ice shell. In the early 20th century, the NASA'sEuropa Clipper will attempt to answer questions about the habitability of the planet. The data from the flyby gives a preview of what will be revealed.