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Juno, NASA’s Orbital Spacecraft, Completes Jupiter Flyby

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Juno, the unmanned orbital spacecraft that has been closing in on the giant gas planet for over a year, successfully completed a flyby that captured the closest images of Jupiter the world has ever seen.

The pictures coming back to NASA taken from Juno, show a mosaic of sandstone clouds covering the surface, with bands of thick yellow, brown, gold, and clouds. The pictures are reminiscent of impressionists works with the brushstrokes creating the mixed colors and odd shapes.

Juno passed within 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) above the massive planet completing one of 36 planned flyby’s. The July 10, 2017, pass will be the closest Juno will get to second largest planet in the Solar System, second only to the Sun. June was traveling at 130,000 mph during the pass over.


Juno Enters Jupiter's Atmosphere – No, It’s Not MARS


"We are getting some intriguing early data returns as we speak," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "It will take days for all the science data collected during the flyby to be downlinked and even more to begin to comprehend what Juno and Jupiter are trying to tell us," NASA reported.

NASA invites the public, amateur and professional stargazers to be a part of this mission. The White House recently announced it will infuse the Space Programs with additional funding which will put “boots on Mars” in the near future and revitalize the Space program following the decree of former President John F. Kennedy’s who on May 25, 1961 asked Congress to accelerate the funding for the “space program making it a national priority and a mission which all Americans would share.” This administration, seems to share the ideals and are making the Space Program a priority with greater exploration of galaxies and planets a mission for all Americans to share. 


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The Juno spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

Juno’s mission is scheduled to end February 18, 2018.

For more information on Juno, Jupiter and the historic photos click here

All images courtesy of NASA and used with permission.

 

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