An Incredible New Photo of Jupiter’s Moon Io

On Oct. 16, NASA’s Juno spacecraft cruised past Io and captured incredible images of Jupiter’s volcanic moon.

The Juno Mission launched in 2011 and entered Jupiter’s orbit in 2016. The mission aims to aid our understanding of the origin of our solar system by studying the gas giant.

“Because Jupiter is so big, it has been influential in the story of the solar system. We can’t understand the origin of the solar system –- and how Earth came about –- without understanding how Jupiter formed,” NASA’s website explains.

While studying what is beneath Jupiter’s swirling clouds, Juno’s orbit took it past Io at a distance of 11,645km. There, it snapped a sequence of photos described by New Scientist as the “best images of Jupiter’s moon Io in decades.”

Volcanoes taller than Everest

Io is the fifth of Jupiter’s 92 moons and is slightly larger than our own. NASA has enhanced the images to show the volcano-studded surface of the most volcanically active body in the solar system. Many of Io’s more than 400 active volcanoes are massive. Some may be taller than Everest.

Yet the incredible new image might be trumped sooner rather than later. In February next year, Juno should pass much closer to Io, within 1,500km of the intriguing moon’s surface.

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a writer and editor for ExplorersWeb.

Martin has been writing about adventure travel and exploration for over five years.

Martin spent most of the last 15 years backpacking the world on a shoestring budget. Whether it was hitchhiking through Syria, getting strangled in Kyrgyzstan, touring Cambodia’s medical facilities with an exceedingly painful giant venomous centipede bite, chewing khat in Ethiopia, or narrowly avoiding various toilet-related accidents in rural China, so far, Martin has just about survived his decision making.

Based in Da Lat, Vietnam, Martin can be found out in the jungle trying to avoid leeches while chasing monkeys.