NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft completed closest flyby of Jupiter mysterious cloud tops for the fourth time. All eight of Juno’s science instruments were switched on during the flyby.
- NASA, Juno skimmed about 2,670 miles (4,300 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops at 7:57 a.m. EST (12:57 pm GMT) on Tursday morning (February 2), zooming by at 129,000 mph (208,000 km/h) relative to the giant planet.
- During the flyby, all of Juno’s eight science instruments and the spacecraft’s JunoCam were on to collect data that is now being returned to Earth.
- Juno is currently in a 53-day orbit, and its next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on March 27, 2017.
- During its flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying the gas giant’s auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
- Launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Juno arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
- During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet’s cloud tops – as close as about 2,600 miles (4,100 kilometers).
About Juno spacecraft:
- Juno was launched in August 2011 to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution.
- It’s the first solar power spacecraft to orbit Jupiter and second after Galileo.
- The unmanned spacecraft had successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit in July 2016 after a five year journey and traversing distance of nearly 2 billion miles.
- The primary goals of the mission are to find out whether Jupiter has a solid core, how its atmosphere and magnetosphere formed, and whether there is water in the gas cloud shrouding the planet.
- The information gathered from it will provide vital clues to how the planet formed and evolved, but also to how the solar system we live in came into existence.
- The spacecraft has been named after the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter who is considered as the god of the sky in ancient Greco-Roman mythology.
More information on the Juno mission is available at:
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