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EarthSky // Science Wire, Space Release Date: Feb 12, 2014

First global geologic map of Jupiter’s large moon Ganymede

Scientists say the new map of Ganymede is the first complete global geologic map of an icy moon of an outer planet.

Scientists have produced the first global geologic map of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon and the largest moon in our solar system. The U. S. Geological Survey has published the map, which illustrates the varied geology on Ganymede’s surface. Scientists say it’s the first complete global geologic map of an icy moon of an outer planet. The geologic map of Ganymede is available for download online here. USGS Astrogeology Science Center director Laszlo Kestay said:

After Mars, the interiors of icy satellites of Jupiter are considered the best candidates for habitable environments for life in our solar system. This geologic map will be the basis for many decisions by NASA and partners regarding future U.S. missions under consideration to explore these worlds.

The video above shows an animation of a rotating globe of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, with a geologic map superimposed over a global color mosaic. The 37-second animation begins as a global color mosaic image of the moon then quickly fades into the geologic map. The distortion in the shape of Ganymede is a map-maker’s artifact. Ganymede is round, like Earth.

Bottom line: The new map of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the first complete global geologic map of an icy moon of an outer planet.

Find more detail about the global map of Ganymede at USGS’ website