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NASA’s Juno spacecraft skims Jupiter’s clouds in recent clip

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Ride on a flyby of Jupiter! NASA’s Juno spacecraft soars just 2,000 miles above the gas giant’s cloud tops in fascinating clip

  • NASA’s recent clip shows Juno’s forty first close flyby of Jupiter, occurring on April 9 
  • At its closest point, Juno was just over 2,050 miles above Jupiter’s cloud tops
  • Juno launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2011 to review Jupiter from orbit

NASA has released a recent clip of its Juno spacecraft skimming Jupiter’s clouds because it made one other flyby of the planet.

The brand new footage, captured by Juno on April 9 during its forty first Jupiter flyby, shows what it could appear like to ride together with the spacecraft.  

At its closest point, Juno was just over 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers) above Jupiter’s colourful cloud tops. 

At that moment, it was traveling at about 131,000 miles per hour (210,000 kilometers per hour) relative to the planet, in accordance with NASA. 

An artist’s impression of NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft with Earth within the background 

JUPITER STATISTICS 

Distance from Sun: 750 million km

Orbital period: 12 years

Surface area: 61.42 billion km²

Radius: 69,911 km

Mass: 1.898 × 10^27 kg (317.8 M⊕)

Length of day: 0d 9h 56m

Moons: 53 with formal designations; innumerable additional moonlets

‘Citizen scientist Andrea Luck created this animated sequence using raw JunoCam image data,’ NASA said in a press release. 

These raw images are publicly available at NASA’s Mission Juno webpage.  

In the course of the April 9 flyby, Juno was greater than 10 times closer to Jupiter than satellites in geosynchronous orbit are to Earth, the space agency also said.

It was travelling at a speed about five times faster than the Apollo missions did within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies after they left Earth for the moon. 

Juno is a solar-powered spacecraft that spans the width of a basketball court and makes long, looping orbits around Jupiter.

It has three giant blades stretching out some 66 feet (20 meters) from its cylindrical, six-sided body. 

Juno launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida over a decade ago – on August 5, 2011 – to review Jupiter from orbit. 

The spacecraft successfully entered Jovian orbit on July 5, 2016, after making its five-year journey.

Raw images of the Jupiter flyby in April are publicly available at NASA's Mission Juno webpage

Raw images of the Jupiter flyby in April are publicly available at NASA’s Mission Juno webpage

Juno will proceed its investigation of the solar system’s largest planet through September 2025, or until the spacecraft’s end of life. 

In June 2021, Juno made a detailed flyby of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon and the largest moon in our solar system. 

It passed inside 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) of the icy moon, which also has its own magnetic field. 

Audio picked up by the space probe revealed an odd series of beeps and bloops at different frequencies coming from the Jovian moon. 

Stunning images were also captured by Juno’s on-board JunoCam imager because it flew past Ganymede at almost 12 miles per second.

How NASA’s Juno probe to Jupiter will reveal the secrets of the solar system’s biggest planet

The Juno probe reached Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile journey from Earth

The Juno probe reached Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile journey from Earth

The Juno probe reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile (2.8bn km) journey from Earth.

Following a successful braking manoeuvre, it entered into a protracted polar orbit flying to inside 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of the planet’s swirling cloud tops.

The probe skimmed to inside just 2,600 miles (4,200 km) of the planet’s clouds once a fortnight – too close to offer global coverage in a single image.

No previous spacecraft has orbited so near Jupiter, although two others have been sent plunging to their destruction through its atmosphere.

To finish its dangerous mission Juno survived a circuit-frying radiation storm generated by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field.

The maelstrom of high energy particles travelling at nearly the speed of sunshine is the harshest radiation environment within the Solar System.

To address the conditions, the spacecraft was protected with special radiation-hardened wiring and sensor shielding.

Its all-important ‘brain’ – the spacecraft’s flight computer – was housed in an armoured vault fabricated from titanium and weighing almost 400 kilos (172kg).

The craft is predicted to review the composition of the planet’s atmosphere until 2025. 

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