Spacecraft buzzes Jupiter’s mega moon, 1st close-up in years

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA (AP) — NASA’s Juno spacecraft has provided the first close-ups of Jupiter’s largest moon in two decades.

Juno zoomed past icy Ganymede on Monday, passing within 1,038 kilometres. The last time a spacecraft came that close was in 2000 when NASA’s Galileo spacecraft swept past our solar system’s biggest moon.

NASA released Juno’s first two pictures on Tuesday, highlighting Ganymede’s craters and long, narrow features possibly related to tectonic faults. One shows the moon’s far side, opposite the sun.

The Jovian moon Ganymede. PHOTO: AP