Map of Ganymede

It looks like future explorers of Ganymede will no longer fear getting lost on the solar system’s largest moon thanks to the hard work of scientists (plus their robotic friends).

( Wes Patterson, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, led a seven-year effort to craft a detailed map of geological features on Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter. Patterson and a half-dozen scientists from several institutions compiled the global map – only the third ever completed of a moon, after Earth’s moon and Jupiter’s cratered satellite Callisto – using images from NASA’s historic Voyager and Galileo missions.

“The map really gives us a more complete understanding of the geological processes that have shaped the moon we see today,” says Patterson, whose team will present and discuss the map at the 2009 European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany [.]

Despite dwelling within the radiation belts of daddy Jupiter, Ganymede may offer a future home for space settlers thanks to its magnetic field.

While it may be decades before humans ever set foot upon this world, hopefully the space powers that be will consider sending a rover to roam its cratered surface in the not so distant future. 😉

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