NASA's Juno clicks first picture of Jupiter's largest moon

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Ganymede Picture (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)
Ganymede Picture (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

New Delhi : NASA's Juno spacecraft passed Jupiter's largest moon called Ganymede on June 7 and not missing the occasion it snapped the celestial body while it was half lit due to sunlight. 

Juno snapped Ganymede from a distance of 1,038 kilometers, which is closest by any spacecraft till date.

In the released two pictures, Ganymede's crater can be seen and it appears just like earth's moon in different shade.

NASA explained that the current sunlit picture released have been captured using JunoCam with a "green filter," the spacecraft's visible light imager. Once Juno relays home pictures it shot using the Red and Blue filters, NASA said imaging experts will be able to piece together a color portrait of the water-ice-encrusted moon.

The pictures have a resolution of approximately one kilometer per pixel.

The captured images by Juno are important because this is the first time in last 20 years when a spacecraft has gone so close to the Ganymede moon.

“This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation,” said Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “We are going to take our time before we draw any scientific conclusions, but until then we can simply marvel at this celestial wonder.”

Ganymede was discovered by renowned astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610 along with the planet's three next-biggest moons.

The interesting fact is that it is the largest moon till date in our solar system. 

NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft was launched a decade ago and has been orbiting Jupiter for five years now.