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Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter, 1979.

Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter, 1979.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 29cm x 32cm


This photograph taken by one of the two Voyager spacecraft. Jupiter has four main moons, which were discovered by Galileo, as well as many smaller ones (47 Jovian moons are currently known). Ganymede is Jupiter's largest moon and the largest known planetary satellite in the solar system. It is larger than the planets Mercury and Pluto, and is an icy world with some regions scarred by impact craters and others with parallel ridges and grooves formed by unknown tectonic proceses. Ganymede has its own magnetic field, and is thought to have a molten iron core. NASA's two Voyager spacecraft were launched in 1977 to explore the planets in the outer solar system. Both flew past Jupiter in 1979.

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© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society

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