On Saturday,1st July at around 11:11 a.m. EDT, a new space telescope named Euclid spacecraft is ready to go to space. Let’s dive in further to know about the amazing journey of this spacecraft;

What the Euclid spacecraft actually is?

It is a European Space Agency (ESA) project, but NASA, the American space agency, also helped a lot. Its main job is to discover why the universe is getting bigger faster and faster. Scientists are curious about the strange force causing this, calling it “dark energy.”

Two of the greatest contemporary enigmas about the cosmos, dark matter and dark energy, will be clarified by the ESA project Euclid spacecraft, to which NASA will also contribute.

Nancy Grace Telescope collaborating with Euclid spacecraft

By May 2027, another NASA telescope called the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will team up with Euclid. Together, they will try to solve this mystery in new ways. Jason Rhodes, a top research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and a key person in both the Roman and Euclid spacecraft projects, said that;

“Even though we learned about the universe’s fast expansion 25 years ago, we still don’t understand it”.

He said;

“These new telescopes would help us measure dark energy much better than before, starting a new exploration period.”

Scientists are curious to know if the universe’s speedy expansion is because of some extra energy or if it means that we need to change how we understand gravity. Astronomers will use Roman and Euclid to look into both of these theories. They think both of these projects will give us important information about the universe’s workings.

How will the Roman and Euclid will work?

Euclid and Roman are made to study the universe’s speedy expansion, but they’ll do it in different ways that complement each other. Both will make 3D maps of the universe to answer big questions about its history and structure. Together, they’ll be much more powerful than they would be alone.

Euclid spacecraft will look at a much bigger area of the sky – around 15,000 square degrees, or about a third – using infrared and optical light but will see less detail than Roman. It will look back 10 billion years to when the universe was about 3 billion years old.

Roman can look at the universe with more detail and precision but will cover a smaller area – about 2,000 square degrees, or one-twentieth of the sky. Its infrared vision will see the universe when it was 2 billion years old, showing more fainter galaxies. While Euclid spacecraft will only look at the universe’s structure, Roman will also study closer galaxies, find and study planets throughout our galaxy, look at objects at the edges of our solar system, and much more.

Some crucial aspects of the ESA's Euclid and NASA's Roman spacecraft are compared in this infographic.

The Hunt for Dark Energy

The universe has grown since it was born, a fact discovered by Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître in 1927 and Edwin Hubble in 1929. But scientists thought that the universe’s gravity would gradually slow this growth. In the 1990s, by looking at a specific kind of supernova, scientists found out that about 6 billion years ago, dark energy started to have a bigger effect on the universe, and we don’t know how or why. The fact that the universe’s expansion is speeding up means that we don’t understand something about the universe.

What will Euclid and Roman projects will study?

Roman and Euclid will give us new data to help us understand this mystery. They’ll try to figure out what’s causing the universe’s speedy expansion in a few different ways. First, Roman and Euclid will look at how matter has accumulated over time using weak gravitational lensing. This happens because anything with mass bends space-time; the more mass, the more bending. The light that moves through these bends looks distorted. The background can look smeared or show multiple images when the bending objects are big galaxies or clusters of galaxies.

Less concentrated mass, like clumps of dark matter, can create smaller effects. Roman and Euclid spacecraft will create a 3D map of dark matter by studying these smaller distortions. This will give clues about the universe’s speedy expansion because the gravitational pull of dark matter, acting like a glue that holds galaxies and galaxy clusters together, fights against the universe’s expansion. By counting all the universe’s dark matter over time, scientists will better understand the push-and-pull causing the universe’s speedy expansion.

The two projects will also study how galaxies are grouped at different times in the universe. Scientists have seen a pattern in how galaxies gather from measurements of the nearby universe. For any galaxy today, we are about twice as likely to find another galaxy about 500 million light-years away than a little nearer or farther.

Observing the Expansion of universe

This distance has grown over time because of the universe’s expansion. By looking further into the universe via Euclid spacecraft, to earlier times, astronomers can study the preferred distance between galaxies in different periods. Seeing how it has changed will reveal the universe’s expansion history. Seeing how galaxy grouping varies over time will also allow a precise gravity test. This will help astronomers tell the difference between an unknown energy component and different theories about modified gravity as explanations for the universe’s speedy expansion.

Roman’s survey for Ia supernova

Apart from Euclid spacecraft, Roman will conduct an extra survey to discover many faraway type Ia supernovae – a special exploding star. These explosions have a similar brightness. Because of this, astronomers can determine how far away the supernovae are by measuring how bright they look.

Astronomers will use Roman to study the light of these supernovae to find out how fast they appear to be moving away from us. Scientists will trace the universe’s expansion over time by comparing how fast they’re moving away at different distances. This will help us better understand whether and how dark energy has changed throughout the universe’s history.

What is the significance of Roman and Euclid spacecraft project?

The two projects’ surveys will overlap, with Euclid likely looking at the entire area Roman will examine. Scientists can use Roman’s more detailed and precise data to correct Euclid’s and apply these corrections to Euclid’s larger area.

Mike Seiffert, a project scientist for the NASA contribution to Euclid at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that Euclid spacecraft’s first look at the big area of sky it will study would inform the science, analysis, and survey approach for Roman’s more detailed examination.

Yun Wang, a senior research scientist at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California, who has led galaxy grouping science groups for both Euclid and Roman, said,

“Together, Euclid and Roman will add up to much more than the sum of their parts.”

He said combining their observations will give astronomers a better idea of what’s happening in the universe.

Three science groups supported by NASA are contributing to the Euclid spacecraft project. Along with designing and making Euclid’s Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument sensor-chip electronics, JPL led the getting and delivery of the NISP detectors. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center tested those detectors. The Euclid NASA Science Center at IPAC (ENSCI) at Caltech will support U.S.-based studies using Euclid spacecraft data

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NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft project has taken two amazing pictures of Mars using ultraviolet light. This light can show us a lot about the planet’s air and surface.

Maven, a NASA spacecraft, enters orbit over Mars. According to NASA, the Maven spacecraft effectively completed an engine run to reach Martian orbit and start its journey to investigate the atmosphere of the Red Planet. The Martian ionosphere contains a thin film of metal ions as a consequence of entering interplanetary dust striking the upper atmosphere, and MAVEN delivered its inaugural direct observations of this layer.

MAVEN Spacecraft’s Mission

Originally an aspect of NASA’s now-cancelled Mars Scout Programme, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) expedition was chosen to investigate the planet’s environment and aurora and how they are influenced by the Sun and the solar winds.
MAVEN spacecraft discovered that the Sun is the main cause of Mars’ atmosphere depletion. The solar wind is the aggregate name for the stream of hot, extremely energetic particles that the Sun releases.

MAVEN spacecraft’s tool for taking these pictures is the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS). It took these pictures in 2022 and 2023 when Mars was at different points in its path around the Sun.

UV Images by MAVEN Spacecarft

The IUVS tool takes pictures using light that we can’t usually see. To help us see it, the pictures show different light brightness levels as red, green, and blue. Using these colors, the air’s ozone looks purple, and clouds look white or blue. The surface can look tan or green, depending on the picture.

UV Images by MAVEN Spacecarft

The first picture by MAVEN spacecraft was taken in July 2022, when Mars was close to the Sun. It was summer in the southern part of Mars. In the picture, you can see a large area called the Argyre Basin, filled with a light pink haze. You can also see the white southern polar ice cap. It’s smaller because it’s summer and warmer. More water vapor is in the air because of the heat and dust storms. This is why Mars loses more hydrogen during this time.

MAVEN spacecraft took second picture which shows the northern part of Mars in January 2023. This was when Mars was farthest from the Sun. Many white clouds are near the north pole because the seasons change quickly. In this picture, the cold winter nights have caused more ozone to form. Then, the ozone goes away in the spring because of reactions with water vapor.

orbit 18009

MAVEN Spacecraft Project

The Pentagon’s Project termed as Maven spacecraft uses equipment algorithmic learning to sift through vast amounts of intelligence, spying, and reconnaissance information, including autonomous footage, document, hard drives for computer systems, thumb drives, and more, that have been gathered by the department and intelligence organisations for use operationally by the services.

Insights of MAVEN Spacecarft on Mars

MAVEN spacecraft was sent to space in November 2013 and started orbiting Mars in September 2014. The mission aims to study Mars’ upper atmosphere and how it interacts with the Sun and solar wind. This helps scientists learn more about how Mars’ atmosphere is escaping into space. Knowing this helps us learn about Mars’ past air, climate, and water and if it could have supported life. The MAVEN team is preparing for September 2024, when the probe will have been on Mars for ten years.

The person in charge of MAVEN works at the University of California, Berkeley. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland runs the project. Lockheed Martin Space made the spacecraft and managed the mission. In Southern California, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory assists with tracking the spacecraft and the Deep Space Network. The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder manages the science activities and talks to the public.

The orion spacecraft mission’s laser communications system arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the Orion spacecraft, which will transport men around the Moon for the first time since the Apollo missions.

NASA Laser Communications Delivery
The O2O payload at Kennedy Space Center undergoing unpacking and examination. Credits: NASA / Isaac Watson

Onion Spacecraft Launching Date & Background

NASA launched the Artemis I mission on November 16, 2022, an uncrewed flight test that pushed the human-rated

Laser Communications for Artemis II
The Benefits of Laser Communications: Efficient, Lighter, Secure, and Flexible.
Credits: NASA / Dave Ryan

Orion spacecraft further into space than any previous mission.

 

The next mission, Artemis II will put all of Orion spaceflight systems to the test and pave the way for future lunar surface missions.

The Artemis II mission will also put new and improved technologies to the test, including laser communication capabilities.

The Orion Artemis II Optical Communications System, or O2O, is Orion’s laser communications terminal.

Sending & Receiving of Data Through Laser Communications 

Laser communications techniques, such as O2O, enable missions to send and receive more data in a single transmission than traditional radio wave systems, which are currently used by the majority of NASA missions. More information implies more discoveries.

Steve Horowitz, O2O project manager said,

“At 260 megabits per second, O2O is capable of sending down 4K high-definition video from the Moon,”

He added

“In addition to video and pictures, O2O will transmit and receive procedures, pictures, flight plans, and be a link between Orion spacecraft and mission control on Earth.”

After collecting data, O2O will transmit it through laser signals to one of two ground stations in Las Cruces, New Mexico, or Table Mountain, California, both of which were chosen for their low cloud coverage.

The quality of photographs and films sent from Orion via O2O will be determined in part by cloud coverage at ground stations.

Optical Infusion Effect | Orion Spacecraft

The O2O laser terminal is part of the optical infusion effort of the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN)

NASA's Laser Communications Roadmap
NASA’s Laser Communications Roadmap
Credits: NASA / Dave Ryan

program, which is testing laser communications on numerous missions.

A team of engineers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT-LL) created O2O.

This collaboration has resulted in several laser communications missions, including

  • Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) in 2013.
  • Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) in 2021
  • Tera-Byte Infrared Delivery (TBIRD) payload in 2022.

Potential Benefits of Laser Communications Through Orion Spacecraft

The SCaN is demonstrating the benefits of laser communications for missions by testing this technology in several space regimes.

  • The O2O laser terminal underwent multiple stages of environmental testing before being sent to Kennedy to guarantee that the payload can work in the harsh environment of space.
  • O2O laser communications terminals will allow more data to reach Earth and aid scientists in their efforts to perform advanced investigations. Artemis II’s data will help NASA plan future lunar missions and build a long-term presence on the Moon and, eventually, Mars.
Artemis II Moon Mission
The O2O payload in a Kennedy Space Center cleanroom.
Credits: NASA / Isaac Watson

Now, let’s see the capability of Artemis II from different perspectives.

What Artemis II is Supposed to Do?

The approximately 10-day flight will test NASA’s foundational human deep space exploration capabilities. The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, for the first time with astronauts and will pave the way for lunar surface missions, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.

What is the Current Status of Artemis II as NASA’S Orion Spacecraft?

Artemis II stands as the second planned endeavor within NASA’s Artemis program and holds the distinction of being the initial crewed mission employing NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

The intended launch, scheduled for November 2024, will rely on the powerful Space Launch System (SLS).

The orbiter designed to study gas giants has traveled more than 510 million miles and has observed three of Jupiter’s four largest moons up close.

When is NASA’s Juno spacecraft scheduled to pass by Io and Jupiter?

On Tuesday, May 16, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will pass by Io, Jupiter’s volcanic moon, and then shortly after, it will fly by the gas giant itself. The upcoming flyby of the Jovian moon will be the closest one so far. The spacecraft will be at an altitude of approximately 22,060 miles (35,500 kilometers). The spacecraft, which is powered by solar energy, is currently in its third year of an extended mission to study the interior of Jupiter. Additionally, it will investigate the ring system where some of the gas giant’s inner moons are located.

Which Galilean moons have Juno gathered information from during its close encounters?

Juno has conducted 50 flybys of Jupiter and gathered information during close encounters with three of the four Galilean moons, namely Europa, Ganymede, and Io. Europa and Ganymede are icy worlds, while Io is fiery.

Scott Bolton:

Scott Bolton, who is the principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, stated that Io is the most volcanic celestial body known in our solar system. By observing the volcanoes repeatedly over a period of time, we can monitor their variations such as frequency of eruption, intensity of heat and brightness, whether they are connected to a group or not, and any changes in the shape of the lava flow.

What effect does Jupiter’s gravitational pull have on Io?

Io is a celestial body that is slightly bigger than Earth’s moon. It is constantly experiencing turmoil. The largest planet in our solar system exerts a gravitational pull on everything around it, including its two largest moons, Europa and Ganymede. Io experiences continuous stretching and squeezing, which is responsible for the creation of lava seen erupting from its numerous volcanoes.

What is the purpose of the Juno spacecraft and how does JunoCam contribute to the study of Io’s volcanoes?

Juno was created with the purpose of examining Jupiter, but its numerous sensors have also gathered a significant amount of information about the planet’s moons. The spacecraft has several instruments, including JunoCam, JIRAM, SRU, and MWR. These instruments will study Io’s volcanoes and how they interact with Jupiter’s magnetosphere and auroras.

How close will Juno get to Io’s surface during the flybys?

We are now approaching an exciting phase of Juno’s mission as we move closer to Io with each orbit. Bolton stated that the 51st orbit will offer us the best opportunity to observe this heavily damaged moon up close. In July and October, we will have flybys that will bring us closer. These will lead up to twin flyby encounters with Io in December and February. During these encounters, we will fly within 1,500 kilometers of its surface. Each of these flybys is offering stunning glimpses of the volcanic eruptions on this extraordinary moon. The information ought to be impressive.

A period of fifty years spent at Jupiter:

Juno has flown close to Jupiter’s cloud tops during its flybys, reaching a distance of approximately 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers). During these flybys, the spacecraft approaches Jupiter from over the north pole and exits over the south. Its instruments are used to study Jupiter’s interior, auroras, structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere by probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover. This helps in learning more about the planet’s origins.

How long has the spacecraft Juno been in orbit around Jupiter?

The spacecraft Juno has completed more than 2,505 Earth days in orbit around Jupiter and has traveled over 510 million miles (820 million kilometers). On July 4, 2016, the spacecraft successfully reached Jupiter. The spacecraft had its first science flyby 53 days after its launch. It maintained that same orbital period until it flew by Ganymede on June 7, 2021. This caused its orbital period to decrease to 43 days. On September 29, 2022, the Europa flyby caused a reduction in the orbital period to 38 days. Following the upcoming Io flybys on May 16 and July 31, Juno’s orbital period will remain constant at 32 days.

Matthew Johnson:

Matthew Johnson, the acting project manager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, stated that Juno is examining several celestial bodies during its extended mission, and Io is one of them. In addition to adjusting our orbit to obtain fresh views of Jupiter and flying at a low altitude over the planet’s dark side, our spacecraft will also navigate through some of Jupiter’s rings to gain insights into their composition and how they were formed.

Isn’t it interesting that AI in space exploration is making incredible milestones day after day?

When humans look up to the night sky, they often get stunned by its spaciousness and curiosity. Even in today’s world, that sense of curiosity continues. But, thanks to modern technology, and artificial intelligence. They have emerged as a powerful tool that not only gives answers to our fascination but also uncovers some of the universe using innovative methods.

AI Is Being Used in Space Exploration img 1
Incredible Ways AI Is Being Used in Space Exploration

AI, the artificial intelligence play a significant role in many explorational journeys of Space. From the keen control of robots and satellites to the complex analysis of vast datasets and satellites. AI offers us a lot of new knowledge. Besides this, AI functions as a versatile key that effectively unlocks many secrets of the cosmos. That is why AI is allowing scientists to boldly explore realms that were once confined to the realm of imagination.

We will explore some of the best applications of AI in space exploration, and see how it is helping scientists in the best ways.

AI in Space Exploration is Getting Crazy Day by Day!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an essential role in numerous space exploration missions. From controlling robots and satellites to analyzing complex satellites and databases. Artificial intelligence is the heart of mission exploration. AI’s flexibility allows us to unravel its mysteries and provide researchers with new fields they had never thought they could explore. AI helps scientists in a variety of ways.

Let’s take a look at:

  • Robots for Navigation Purposes

AI in space exploration specifically navigate using self-deployment robots. Rovers such as Mars Exploration Rover and Curiosity have explored Mars independently for a long time, using sensors that detect obstacles such as rocks. They use AI algorithms to analyze the data to map safe routes to prevent collisions.

Robots for Navigation Purposes
Image credit: NASA/ARC

Perseverance Rover uses AEGIS to determine the most suitable rocks to collect samples and paving the way for totally independent space-based autonomous rovers.

Satellite Operations utilizing Artificial Intelligence. It is changing satellite operations improving efficiency and increasing intelligence at the same time.

SpaceX incorporates Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms in their navigation satellites. These algorithms utilize sensor data like speed and location measurements to determine the risk of collision. If their AI senses there could be a threat of collision, their computer onboard immediately alters their course in order to ensure that they do not get into a collision.

  • Optimization of Satellites

AI plays a crucial part in optimizing satellite orbits. It helps satellites to choose more efficient routes that take less fuel and time for precise positioning – thereby saving resources while also increasing the effectiveness of their missions.

AI in space exploration img 3

Space Data Analysis with Artificial Intelligence allows quicker and more accurate analysis of satellite data making use of machine learning’s ability to recognize patterns to identify patterns in satellite data sets, assisting us identify the most important aspects or issues more quickly.

AI is able to more effectively recognize patterns, and offer more precise, precise and complete analyses than traditional methods have ever been able to do and perform more effectively than other method! AI could be even more economical!

  • Astrogeology (or planetology) is the study of formations in space

Artificial intelligence (AI) lets scientists make use of it to detect and classify features such as eruptions and craters on planets and moons by constructing 3-dimensional representations of their surfaces, which offer us more insight into their past and the environment they inhabit.

AI in space exploration img 4

SpaceX has embraced Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve their rockets. AI analyses sensor and instrument data to aid in precise control. In addition, they are making use of this AI to automatically land and focusing on maintaining engines and equipment to ensure landings are successful each time.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an integral component in space exploration. AI technology is able to quickly process information and steer spacecraft independently through space and help probes move faster so that we get a better view into the universe beyond Earth.

What can Artificial Intelligence applications aid space exploration?

AI technology can enhance the efficiency of spacecrafts, assisting them in completing tasks on their own collecting relevant data and enhancing the odds of success in mission by assisting spacecraft move autonomously around studying the information they have collected and identifying problems quickly and enabling tasks to run more efficiently.

What role can AI robots and AI play in space exploration?

NASA makes use of AI to connect spacecraft while SpaceX uses it to land rockets in safety on Earth.

Could Artificial Intelligence find use in the field of space technology?

AI is an essential source of satellite production. Utilizing machine learning techniques to evaluate designs quickly, AI allows us to quickly identify solutions. In assessing aspects like weight, strength and functional considerations, AI gives all the necessary information for designing spacecrafts.

Are there ways to make AI and exploration coexist?

Spacecraft with AI enhancements can be incredible instruments. They are not only capable of autonomously exploring space missions with greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness as well, but they can also help scientists by providing analysis of data capabilities that enhance our understanding of the universe!

When was the first time artificial intelligence be introduced to space exploration?

Deep Space 1 first utilized Artificial Intelligence in space in 1998, through the Space satellite Deep Space 1. AI was used to study two comets which included Borrelly and Braille employing “Remote Agent”, an new method of thinking specifically to analyze the properties of these objects.

Deep Space 1
Deep Space 1

Bottom Line:

Artificial Intelligence has proven an important tool when it comes to looking into space. AI assists us in identifying things that would otherwise be difficult to recognize. For example, objects changing their course or even small aspects we could ignore. Before AI became so prevalent with regard to space research, many AI applications relied on satellite data obtained from Hubble Space Telescope satellites alone to get a better understanding of space.

Artificial Intelligence AI in space exploration has performed many roles. From serving as a teacher and guide to spacecraft travel, AI has also helped astronauts master new techniques. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed an AI system that can manage missions in a way that is autonomous. Machine learning also analyzes images taken by Mars spacecrafts, looking for possible sources of water or other materials on Mars.

NASA’s Juno mission is going to fly by the moon io of Jupiter on July 30, 2023. And this spacecraft is going to make its nearest approach to the planet.

Will Juno’s Mission Explore Volcanoes of Moon Io of Jupiter?

On July 30, NASA’s Juno mission will conduct another examination of Jupiter’s fiery moon, Io. This time, the solar-powered spacecraft will make its closest approach yet, coming within 13,700 miles (22,000 kilometers) of the moon. During this flyby, the Italian-built JIRAM (Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper) and other science instruments will collect valuable data, offering insights into the moon’s numerous erupting volcanoes that spew molten lava and sulfurous gases across its surface.

Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio remarked that while JIRAM’s primary purpose was to observe Jupiter’s polar aurora, its ability to detect heat sources has proven crucial in identifying active volcanoes on Io. As Juno approaches the moon with each flyby, JIRAM and other instruments on board contribute to an ever-growing repository of data about Io. This accumulation not only aids in a more detailed examination of surface features but also enables a better understanding of their dynamic changes over time.

Moon Io
At top and bottom right, JunoCam images taken in May 2023 of Jupiter’s moon Io show lava fields surrounding volcanoes Volund A and B appear to be growing in size. Previous NASA spacecraft imaged the same region in 1996, bottom left, and 2007, bottom center.
Credits: Galileo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona. New Horizons: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI Juno. Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing: Jason Perry (CC BY)

What is the Recent Discoveries in Moon Io of Jupiter So Far?

The spinning, solar-powered spacecraft, launched in 2011, has been studying the Jovian system since 2016. It is set to begin the third year of on July 31.

Io, slightly larger than Earth’s moon, is a world in constant turmoil. Gravitational forces from Jupiter and its Galilean siblings, Europa and Ganymede, continuously pull and stretch the moon. And contributing to the ongoing eruption of lava from its many volcanoes.

During Juno’s previous flyby of Io on May 16, the JunoCam imager captured an image from 22,100 miles (35,600 kilometers) showing a smudge in the moon’s Volund region, near the equator. These smudges act as valuable clues for planetary scientists, indicating changes on the surface of the moon.

Jason Perry of the University of Arizona’s HiRISE Operations Center in Tucson pointed out the expansion of the lava flow field to the west. And the fresh lava flows surrounding another volcano just north of Volund. And comparing it to visible-light images taken during Galileo and New Horizons flybys in 1999 and 2007. This direct observation of changes on Io’s surface after 16 years is an exciting development for researchers studying its extreme volcanic activity.

Moon Io of Jupiter: Moon with Hundreds of Erupting Volcanoes

Jupiter’s moon, Io, stands as the most volcanically active world in our solar system. Which is boasting hundreds of volcanoes, some erupting lava fountains that can reach dozens of miles (or kilometers) in height. The impressive activity on Io is a consequence of a constant interplay between Jupiter’s powerful gravity. And the smaller yet precisely timed gravitational pulls from its neighboring moons, Europa and Ganymede, which orbit farther from Jupiter.

In size, Io is slightly larger than Earth’s Moon and ranks as the third largest of Jupiter’s moons, occupying the fifth position in terms of distance from the gas giant.

Io’s orbit around Jupiter is influenced by the large moons, Europa and Ganymede. They results in an irregularly elliptical path. Consequently, Io is subjected to significant tidal forces, causing its surface to bulge up and down (or in and out) by up to 330 feet (100 meters). This tidal effect far exceeds the tides experienced on Earth’s oceans, where the difference between low and high tides is only about 60 feet (18 meters) in water, not solid ground.

How does the Proximity of Moon Io of Jupiter will Spark Lightning and Transform its Surface?

Due to its proximity to Jupiter at approximately 262,000 miles (422,000 kilometers). The orbit of Moon io has cuts across the planet’s powerful magnetic field lines, effectively turning the moon into an electric generator. Io can develop a staggering 400,000 volts across its surface, generating an electric current of 3 million amperes. This electric current travels along Jupiter’s magnetic field lines, resulting in lightning within Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.

The tidal forces produce an immense amount of heat within Io, keeping much of its subsurface crust in a liquid state. This causes the moon’s surface to constantly renew itself, filling in impact craters with molten lava lakes and spreading smooth new floodplains of liquid rock.

The exact composition of this material remains somewhat uncertain, with theories suggesting it may primarily consist of molten sulfur and its compounds (explaining the varied coloring) or possibly silicate rock (which better accounts for the extreme temperatures, possibly too hot for sulfur). The thin atmosphere of moon Io mainly comprises sulfur dioxide, and unlike the other Galilean moons, it lacks water. Data from the Galileo spacecraft indicates that Io may have an iron core, thus possessing its own magnetic field.

How Does the Moon’s Interaction with the Gas Giant Shape Auroras, Plasma Torus, and Reveal Planetary Orbits?

As Jupiter rotates, its magnetic field interacts with Moon Io. Which is causing about 1 ton (1,000 kilograms) of Io’s material to be stripped away every second. This material becomes ionized in the magnetic field, creating a doughnut-shaped cloud of intense radiation known as a plasma torus. Jupiter’s atmosphere pulls some of these ions along the magnetic lines of force. Which results in auroras in the planet’s upper atmosphere. Additionally, ions escaping from this torus contribute to inflating Jupiter’s magnetosphere to more than twice its expected size.

If we look onto the previous history of Moon Io. Then Io was first discovered on January 8, 1610, by Galileo Galilei. This discovery, along with three other Jovian moons, marked the first time scientists. As they found a moon orbiting a planet other than Earth. The observation of these four Galilean satellites ultimately led to the realization that planets in our solar system. Which are revolving around the Sun, contrary to the previous belief that our solar system revolved around Earth. Galileo’s initial observation of Io occurred on January 7, 1610. But he was unable to distinguish between Io and Europa until the following night.

How did Jupiter’s Moons Receive Their Names and What Stories Lie Behind Io’s Name?

Originally, Galileo referred to Jupiter’s Moon io as the Medicean planets, naming them after the influential Italian Medici family. He labeled the individual moons numerically as I, II, III, and IV. This naming system persisted for a couple of centuries.

However, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the names we now use for the Galilean moon. Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto—were officially adopted. The shift occurred mainly because as astronomers discovered more moons around Jupiter and other planets, using numbers became confusing.

In mythology, Io undergoes a transformation into a cow due to a marital dispute between Zeus, the Greek god. Which is (also known as Jupiter in Roman mythology), and his wife, Juno.

What’s in the Name of Juno Mission and its Mythological Connection?

NASA named the Juno mission in honor of Juno. Who, according to mythology, possessed the ability to see through clouds and reveal her husband’s misdeeds. Similarly, the Juno spacecraft peers through the clouds of Jupiter to unveil the secrets hidden beneath.

Regarding the potential for life, Io is not a favorable destination due to constant volcanism and intense radiation. Which make it an inhospitable environment for life as we know it.

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Watch Mercury come out of the shadows as the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft flew by the planet’s nightside on June 19, 2023, and enjoy a special flyover of geologically rich scenery and a bonus 3D scene.

In the first part of the movie, which is made up of 217 pictures taken by BepiColombo Spacecraft’s monitoring camera M-CAM 3, the lit side of the planet quickly appears in the spacecraft’s field of view, showing a lot of interesting geological features. From far away, the Terminator, which is the line between day and night, stands out more. This makes the picture series even more beautiful. Mercury seems to hang between the spacecraft’s body and antenna for a moment before the spacecraft speeds away.

BepiColombo’s Journey

The picture sequence begins at 19:46:25 UTC on June 19, 2023, when BepiColombo Spacecraft was 1,789 km above the surface of the planet. It ends at 20:34:25 UTC on June 20, 2023, when BepiColombo was 331 755 km away. Around the closest approach, images were taken about once every minute. In later stages, this rate slowed down a lot.

BepiColombo Spacecraft and Mercury’s Beauty

In the second part of the BepiColombo Spacecraft movie, there is a view of an interesting area with the 600 km-long curved cliff called Beagle Rupes and the 218 km-wide Manley Crater, which was named for the Jamaican artist Edna Manley by the International Astronomical Union. Beagle Rupes goes through Sveinsdóttir, which is a long impact hole.

BepiColombo Spacecraft’s Closest Approach

The flight starts with a vertical view down, with east at the top of the screen. The view then moves down and BepiColombo Spacecraft focus on Beagle Rupes and Sveinsdóttir Crater. The view then moves from east to south by turning around. It then moves south to put Manley Crater in the middle, with the straight scarp called Challenger Rupes to its left, and then turns the view so that north is at the top again. At the end, the animated terrain goes away and the projected picture used for 3D reconstruction shows. For BepiColombo’s main science goal, which is to learn more about Mercury’s natural past, places like these will be very important.

Shape From Shading Method

Using a method called “shape from shading,” the scene has been put back together. Galileo Galilei noticed more than 400 years ago that parts of the Moon’s surface that tilt away from the Sun look darker, while those that tilt toward the Sun look brighter. The method for getting shape from coloring is based on this fact. It uses how bright the pictures of Mercury taken by BepiColombo Spaccraft are to figure out how steep the surface is. With the surface slope, you can make geographic maps. This particular flight view is based on a picture from BepiColombo and a rougher digital elevation model from NASA’s Messenger. Shape from shading uses the picture to improve the original terrain, find small geological features, and suggest more accurate slopes. The heights can’t be reached.

BepiColombo Spacecraft and Music by Mima Group

Music and AI: IL wrote the music for the sequence with the help of AI tools made by the University of Sheffield’s Machine Intelligence for Musical Audio (MIMA) group. The creative director of Maison Mercury Jones, IL (formerly known as Anil Sebastian), and Ingmar Kamalagharan gave the AI tool music from the first two flyby movies as seeds for the new composition, the BepiColombo Spacecraft. IL then chose one of the seeds to edit and combine with other parts to make the BepiColombo third Mercury Flyby. The team at the University of Sheffield has made an Artificial Musical Intelligence (AMI), which is a large-scale general-purpose deep neural network that can be customized for each artist and use case.

BepiColombo_s_Mercury

The goal of the project with the University of Sheffield is to find out where the ethics of AI creation end and to highlight how important the (human) artist is.

BepiColombo Spacecraft’s Reconstruction of Mercury

In this picture of BepiColombo spacecraft, part of the area shown in the flyover scene has also been rebuilt as a 3D anaglyph. To get the most out of this view, wear red-green-blue glasses. The picture was taken from a distance of about 2,982 km, 17 minutes after closest approach. It shows an area of about 1,325.5 km x 642 km. Using the “shape from shading” method, the land at this spot has also been rebuilt. The geography is used to make anaglyphs that show what the land looks like. The heights are changed by a factor of 12.5 so that they look best on a computer or phone screen.

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This image displays a swirl near Jupiter’s north pole and shows the lightning on Jupiter.

swirl near Jupiter's north pole and shows the lightning on Jupiter

Where does the Lightning on Jupiter Come From?

Lightning originates from water-based clouds on Earth and is predominantly observed near the equator. On Jupiter, however, it’s likely that lightning is generated from a mixture of ammonia and water clouds and is typically seen near the poles.

The Nearness of Jupiter’s Orbital Pole to the Planet:

Juno’s orbital path will bring it nearer to Jupiter as it traverses the giant planet’s dark side in the forthcoming months. This proximity will allow Juno’s scientific apparatus to capture lightning in action.

This snapshot was taken on the 30th of December, 2020, when Juno was making its 31st cosy rendezvous with Jupiter.

Converting the Raw Data of Lightning on Jupiter by JunoCam:

In 2022, a citizen scientist named Kevin M. Gill converted the raw data from JunoCam, the spacecraft’s imaging device, into this visual.

When the original snapshot was captured, Juno was nearly 19,900 miles (around 32,000 kilometres) above the cloud tops of Jupiter, closing in on the giant planet around the 78-degree latitude mark.

Does Jupiter have lightning?

Despite Jupiter’s status as a gas giant with a diameter approximately 11 times that of Earth, its lightning displays bear a striking resemblance to those found on our planet, despite Earth being the fifth largest planet in our solar system.

How powerful is lightning on Jupiter?

Efforts were made to assess the strength of lightning by utilizing optical measurements, leading to the conclusion that the intensity of lightning could potentially rival the most powerful lightning phenomena observed on Earth.

What is the Color light on Jupiter?

This illustration portrays a sprite lightning phenomenon observed on Jupiter. Due to Jupiter’s atmosphere being predominantly composed of hydrogen, sprites on the planet would likely exhibit a blue hue. In contrast, Earth’s upper atmosphere, which contains nitrogen, causes sprites to appear reddish.

 

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When the light from two times of day was put together, it made a beautiful picture of the land curiosity Mars rover was leaving behind.

After NASA’s curiosity finished a big software update in April, it took one last look at “Marker Band Valley” before leaving. It took a “postcard” of the area.

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Let’s Have a Deeper Look At NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover

The postcard is an artist’s view of the scenery. It comprises two black-and-white photos from Curiosity’s navigation cameras that have been colored.

The pictures were taken in the morning on April 8th, right at 9:20 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. local time on Mars. The lighting was very different each time, making the scene’s details stand out when they were put together.

Parts of the postcard that were taken in the morning were colored blue, and pieces that were taken in the afternoon were colored yellow, just like a similar postcard that Curiosity Mars Rover took in November 2021.

Impressive Picture of NASA’S Curiosity Mars Rover

The result is a striking picture. At the moment, the rover is moving over the slopes of Mount Sharp. It’s a mountain about 3 miles (5 km) high, inside the large Gale Crater.

The rover has been studying this area since it landed in 2012. Marker Band Valley, a winding area in the “sulfate-bearing region” where the rover found unexpected signs of an old lake, is far away from its tracks. Farther down (in the middle and to the right), there are two hills called “Bolvar” and “Deepdale,” which Curiosity drove between as it explored “Paraitepuy Pass.”

Day & Night Pictures of NASA’S Curiosity Mars Rover

“Anyone who’s been to a national park knows that the scene looks different in the morning than it does in the afternoon,” said NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Curiosity engineer Doug Ellison, who prepared and analyzed the photographs. “Capturing two times of day provides dark shadows because the lighting is coming in from the left and right as you might have on a stage – but instead of stage lights, we’re relying on the Sun on.”

The photos were captured during the winter season, a period typically characterized by clearer skies due to the reduced dust in the air. This made the shadows even darker.

Ellison said.

“With less dust, the shadows on Mars are more distinct and darker. But when there’s a lot of dust, the shadows aren’t as clear.”

Depiction of the Picture Showing NASA Curiosity Rover

The picture looks behind the rover, showing its three antennas and a nuclear power source.

The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), visible as a white circle in the bottom right of the photo, aids scientists in understanding how to safeguard the first humans going to Mars from the planet’s surface radiation.

To investigate the south polar region of the Moon during Artemis missions, NASA is looking for industry proposals for a next-generation LTV (Lunar Terrain Vehicle). This LTV will enable humans to travel further and carry out more science than ever before.

The Artemis crew will use the LTV to explore and sample more of the lunar surface than they could do on foot.

Instead of owning the rover, NASA will hire LTV as a service from the private sector. NASA can take advantage of private innovation.

They offer the best value to American taxpayers while meeting its goals for human spaceflight science and exploration by contracting services from business partners.

NASA is inviting proposals from the industry for the development of an advanced Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) that will enable astr

What is NASA Lunar Terrain Vehicle?

Astronauts to venture deeper into the Moon’s south polar region and undertake unprecedented scientific endeavors during the Artemis missions. The agency aims to push the boundaries, allowing astronauts to explore new frontiers and expand their scientific capabilities beyond previous limits.

Lara Kearney, manager of NASA’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility program at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said,

“We want to leverage industry’s knowledge and innovation, combined with NASA’s history of successfully operating rovers, to make the best possible surface rover for our astronaut crews and scientific researchers.”

The Lunar Terrain Vehicle will operate similarly to a hybrid of an unmanned Mars rover and an Apollo-style lunar rover.

Similar to NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance Mars rovers, it will support both phases driven by astronauts and phases as an unmanned mobile science exploration platform.

This will make it possible to conduct scientific even when there aren’t any crews on the lunar surface. The LTV will be used by the Artemis astronauts to travel around the lunar surface and transport research gear, increasing the lengths they can travel on each moonwalk.

NASA has specified requirements for businesses interested in creating and demonstrating the LTV under the Lunar Terrain Vehicle Services Request for Proposals, including a strategy that encourages businesses to create an innovative rover for use by NASA and other commercial customers for several years.

Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle 

In order to move supplies and scientific payloads between crewed landing sites and enable more science returns, resource exploration, and lunar exploration, engineers will be able to control the LTV remotely.

This will increase the amount of scientific study that can be conducted on the Moon during uncrewed operations, allow researchers to look into potential surface mission landing sites, and help them determine their aims and objectives for each location.

The Lunar Terrain Vehicle will need to have several systems to support both crewed and uncrewed operations to manage the peculiar environment near the lunar South Pole, which includes permanently darkened regions and prolonged periods without sunlight.

Modern communication and navigation systems, semi-autonomous driving, enhanced power management, and environmental protection are some of the more crucial systems.

How Many Lunar Rovers are on the Moon?

A total of three Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRVs) were employed during different Apollo missions on the Moon. Astronauts David Scott and Jim Irwin used one LRV during Apollo 15, while John Young and Charles Duke utilized another LRV during Apollo 16.

Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt, on the other hand, had access to the third LRV during Apollo 17. In each instance, the mission commander took on the role of the driver and sat in the left-hand seat of the respective LRV.

How Much Lunar Rovers Cost?

The $38 million mentioned does not represent the cost of a single unit, but rather the total expenditure for the entire project, which encompasses four units and eight variants designed for testing, development, and training purposes.

To put it into perspective, the renowned Scuderia Ferrari F1 team invested over $400 million in 2020 alone for the development and production of their Formula 1 cars.

Lunar Surface Operations:

Companies are needed to offer end-to-end services as part of the bids, from development and delivery to the lunar surface to execution of operations. Each rover must be capable of accommodating two astronauts in spacesuits, a robotic arm.

Or other devices to aid in science exploration and the harsh conditions at the lunar South Pole. Before employing the LTV with humans, the corporation will be required to successfully test it in a lunar environment.  

As of Artemis V in 2029, NASA plans to employ the LTV for crewed activities. The rover will be utilized for uncrewed and commercial tasks before the crew arrives once it landed on the lunar surface.

Space Launch Rocket Mission

The deadline for proposals for the Lunar Terrain Vehicle services contract is July 10, 2023, and the contract will be awarded in November of that same year. Through a draft call for proposals and an earlier request for information, this request for proposals has considered industry feedback.

Through Artemis, NASA will send astronauts to the Moon for scientific research, and commercial gain, and to lay the groundwork for crewed missions to Mars, including the first woman and person of color. 

The basis for NASA’s deep space exploration comprises its Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, Gateway lunar terrain vehicle orbiting base, cutting-edge spacesuits and rovers, and human landing devices.