NASA’s Juno spaceship has been exploring Jupiter since arriving in 2016. In recent years, the mission has focused attention on many of the gas giant’s moons, including its hellish volcanic world. Io and ice ball europa.Currently under research was announced on natural astronomy, the Juno team has released new photos of Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede showing evidence of salts and organic compounds. These materials are likely leftovers from salty seawater that bubbled up to Ganymede’s frozen surface from an underground ocean. And, interestingly, salty oceans indicate that conditions are suitable for life.
Ganymede is a particularly strange place. This is not only Jupiter’s most massive moon, but also the largest moon in the entire solar system, even larger than Mercury. It is also the only satellite with its own magnetic field, generated from a molten metal core deep inside the satellite. Like other icy worlds in the outer solar system, europa Or maybe Pluto, Ganymede probably has an ocean hidden beneath its icy crust. Although some studies suggest multiple oceans; Ice sheets and oceans piled up in a layer cakehide underground.
“Ganymede is so large that its internal structure is more complex than smaller worlds,” explains the University of Arizona geologist. Adeen Denton, has nothing to do with the new work. She points out that the moon’s huge size means there’s a lot of space for interesting molecules to mix. But that also means it’s difficult to find, as the material has to travel long distances to reach the surface where it can be seen by the spacecraft.
Juno was finally able to get close enough to Ganymede to closely observe the chemistry on its surface, within 650 miles, less than the distance from New York City to Chicago. Jupiter Infrared Aurora Mapper (JIRAM). This incredible instrument tracked the composition of Ganymede’s surface in great detail, focusing on features as small as a kilometer wide. If JIRAM is considering New York City, he could map Manhattan by dividing it into 10 block chunks.
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Importantly, material on Ganymede’s surface may tell us about the water hidden beneath. If there is salt in the sky, there is likely to be the same salt water in the ocean below. Oceans, including those on Earth, acquire salts from chemical interactions in which liquid water comes into contact with the rocky mantle.This kind of exchange is “one of the necessary conditions for residency,” says the first author. federico tosiResearcher at the National Astrophysical Institute in Rome, Italy.
However, other current research suggests that Ganymede does not have a layer of liquid water in direct contact with the mantle. Instead, an icy crust separates the ocean from the rock.But it’s a team did Looking at these salts in the JIRAM data suggests that they were in contact at some point in the past, if not now. “This proves a time when the ocean would have been in direct contact with the rocky mantle,” Toshi explains.
Regarding organic chemicals, Juno Although they have been detected, the research team does not yet fully understand what flavor compounds they are. They lean toward aliphatic aldehydes, a type of molecule found elsewhere in the solar system known as a necessary intermediate step in building more complex amino acids. These typically indicate interactions between liquid water and the rocky mantle. While this is clearly not a detection of life, it is an intriguing possibility that life may be lurking in Ganymede’s hidden oceans. “The presence of organic compounds does not mean the presence of life,” Toshi says. “But the opposite is true. Life requires the presence of several categories of organic compounds.”
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Unfortunately, Juno never gets a chance to get close to Ganymede again to search for its salty shores, instead heading towards highly explosive Io. The spacecraft’s latest survey of these minerals was a “unique opportunity to take a closer look at this satellite,” Toshi said. However, for your second visit, you won’t have to wait as long. He added that in about 10 years, there will be a chance to explore these salty waters again. ESA Juice Mission“It is hoped that this will achieve unprecedented and complete coverage of Ganymede.”