A simulated flyover of an area on Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede, based on images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft, takes the viewer over rugged, ancient terrain that is interrupted by a bright icy swath of more recent surfacing.
The dark, rugged terrain in the foreground at the start is part of Nicholson Regio. Parts of the dark terrain are heavily cratered, testifying to their ancient age, but other parts have been deformed into deep grooves by stretching and faulting. A swath called Arbela Sulcus slices through the rough terrain and appears as a dramatically different type of surface, brighter and smoother, between two parts of Nicholson Regio. High-resolution images of Arbela Sulcus obtained by Galileo suggest it may be the result of crustal spreading, similar to a process evident on the surface of Europa, another of Jupiter's moons.
The simulated fly-over in Quicktime format was constructed by combining images obtained during the seventh and 28th orbits of Jupiter by Galileo, on May 7, 1997, and May 20, 2000. Stereo images were used to derive the topography of the area, then regional-scale and high-resolution images from the more recent orbit were draped over the topographic model.
The flyover region is centered near -14 degrees latitude and 347degrees longitude. The resolution of the image data is 35 and 130 meters (114 and 426 feet) per picture element, and the vertical exaggeration is three times.
Images and data received from Galileo are posted on the Galileo mission home page at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galileo/. Background information and educational context for the images can be found at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galileo/gallery/index.cfm.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Galileo mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
This image was produced by DLR (German Aerospace Center), Berlin, and Brown University, Providence, R.I., http://www.dlr.de/pf/ and http://www.planetary.brown.edu/.