The Downlink: Ganymede's North Pole, A New Asteroid to Explore
NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Image processing by Gerald Eichstädt
Ganymede's North Pole
NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured these images of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede at a distance of roughly 100,000 kilometers during a flyby of Jupiter on 25 December 2019. They are the first-ever images of Ganymede’s north pole.
Welcome to The Downlink, a planetary exploration news roundup from The Planetary Society! Here's everything that crossed our radar this week.
The Hubble Space Telescope has detected that Eurybates, an asteroid targeted for flyby by NASA’s Lucy spacecraft in 2027, has a small moon. Eurybates is a Trojan asteroid; Trojans cluster into two groups that share Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun. (The asteroids that lead Jupiter in its orbit, such as Eurybates, are traditionally named for Greek heroes; those that trail Jupiter are named for Trojan heroes.) Lucy launches in 2021 on a mission to visit 7 asteroids—now 8 if you count Eurabytes’ newly discovered moon.
The European Space Agency reports its ExoMars rover completed environmental testing in Toulouse, France. The rover, named after DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin, will launch in July or August. On Mars it will drill for samples up to 2 meters beneath the surface, searching for signs of past and present life.