Juno flew by Jupiter in March of 2017 skimming 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops while traveling about 129,000 mph (208,000 km/h) relative to the planet, NASA officials said. Hold my coffee, I can’t stop staring at the images. Is that even real?
NASA’s Juno spacecraft is the first solar-powered space probe sent out to study our solar system’s largest planet—Jupiter. Juno’s mission is to orbit the gas giant in polar orbit and study its structure while mapping its gravity and magnetic field. Studying Jupiter will allow experts to better understand large planets discovered across the cosmos.
So far—the US$1 billion spacecraft has managed to take an image of Jupiter’s poles for the first time, it has come across really bizarre cloud formations, heard and recorded mysterious auroras, and scanned deep into the planet’s thick cloud tops, doing what no other spacecraft has done before. We’re proud of you Juno.
And while science is the most important thing on the mission, NASA’s spacecraft are known for being really good photographers.
Just as the Cassini spacecraft recently beamed back unprecedented images of Saturn, Juno also has its fair share of breathtaking images—is it time we should award a Pulitzer Prize for Photography to one of those spacecraft?
Juno is the ninth probe from Earth sent to Jupiter, and only the second probe to orbit the planet, but it is the first probe to snap unprecedently beautiful images of the gas giant.
Juno flew by Jupiter in March of 2017 skimming 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops while traveling about 129,000 mph (208,000 km/h) relative to the planet, NASA officials said. As it whizzed passed the Gas Giant it captured this image. JunoCam took close-up color photos of the mysterious and massive planet.
Hold my coffee, I can’t stop staring at the images. Is that even real?
Jupiter is so sexy!
The craft’s next flyby will take place on May 19, and it will eventually descend into Jupiter’s atmosphere at some point in 2018 at the end of its mission. According to NASA, the spacecraft is expected to plunge into Jupiter in February of 2018, crash-landing after 20 months in orbit.
NASA’s US$1 billion Juno spacecraft, launched in August 2011 and traveled five years to reach and settle into orbit around the gas giant—located 670 million kilometers from Earth.
I expect that the next batch of images will be even more incredible.
This image, put together by Gervasio Robles, merges three Juno flyby images to show Jupiter’s elusive south pole in full view.
Since arriving in orbit around Jupiter, the probe has made several important discoveries about the planet’s composition and cloud structure as well as its magnificent auroras and magnetic fields. Because the spacecraft is in a highly elliptical orbit around Jupiter, these close encounters occur only once every 53 days.
Awesome images right? Here are a couple more sexy photos:
Featured image credit: Artist’s concept of Jupiter’s superstorm / nasa.gov