Juno Mission to Jupiter: NASA Probe captures First Image of Planet’s Great Red Spot, Cloud Belts and Jovian Moons

Juno Mission to Jupiter: NASA Probe captures First Image of Planet’s Great Red Spot, Cloud Belts and Jovian Moons

Within days of reaching Jupiter, NASA’s Juno probe has captured the first picture of the giant planet. On July 4, the solar-powered probe entered an orbit around the most massive planet in the solar system.

In the image, Great Red Spot of Jupiter, three Jovian moons and cloud belts are visible. The picture was captured this Sunday (July 10) using JunoCam instrument aboard the craft. At that time, the probe was approximately 2.7 million miles from the planet, as per statement by NASA. Currently, Juno is moving away from the planet and going toward the more distant parts of a highly elliptical. But it will make a comeback next month.

Jovian moons visible in the new picture are Europa, Ganymede and Io. “This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter's extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter. Now, we can't wait to see the first view of Jupiter's poles”, said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of the Juno mission from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

The probe’s camera will continue clicking pictures of Jupiter during its first orbit around the planer, said Candy Hansen, co-investigator from the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Hansen also revealed that JunoCam will capture first high-resolution photos of Jupiter in August this year when it will be closer to Jupiter than it is today.

During the mission, the Juno probe will circle the gas giant about 37 times. It will examine the magnetic and gravitational fields of the planet, as well as its composition.


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