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NASA shares dazzling new image of Jupiter’s volcano-covered moon Io

Updated Dec 21st, 2022 11:05AM EST
artist impression of Io, Jupiter's moon
Image: Andamaty / Adobe

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft has captured a beautiful but terrifying infrared photo of Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. The moon is known for its volcanic surface, and this newest image showcases exactly what you’d expect from such a place.

NASA’s Juno mission has been absolutely killing it recently, too, and this new image isn’t anything to balk at. While beautiful, it is also a bit unsettling due to the red hues that the engineers have decided to use to showcase the moon’s surface design. With Juno still at work, this photo is just one piece of information and data that scientists are working with.

photo of Io, jovian moon
Brighter areas on the image provide a look at the hotter spots on the moon. Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

In the recent past, Juno has taken some good, long looks at the various moons surrounding Jupiter. It gave us a beautiful look at Europa not that long ago and even took a closer look at some of the bizarre cyclones we’ve discovered at Jupiter’s north pole. But this new photo of Io represents the start of a year and a half of upcoming work to understand the moon itself better.

NASA says that the Juno team will focus heavily on the Jovian satellite for the next several months. Data collected during the fly-by, along with the image that is included above, will help us get a better understanding of this moon and what makes it tick. 

Several papers on the previous flybys completed by the Juno spacecraft have already been published, and it’s expected that the data gathered here will sprout even more information and theories from astronomers. While this newest photo of Io doesn’t appear to show much, scientists will no doubt dig at every morsel they can find to learn more about the moon.

And, with Juno’s extended mission still ongoing, it’s possible we’ll see another flyby of this Jovian moon in the coming months, which could provide us with even more data to build on.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.