Space

NASA spacecraft zooms over Jupiter’s swirling clouds at 131,000 mph

Buckle up for a wild flyby.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft — essentially the most distant probe orbiting one other planet — made its forty first shut swoop over Jupiter’s clouds in April. The area company recently posted footage of the encounter with the swirling, Jovian ambiance.

The animated GIF under reveals a collection of photographs captured by the 66-foot-long orbiter, which was created by the citizen scientist Andrea Luck. Juno got here inside 2,050 miles of Jupiter’s clouds whereas touring at some 131,000 mph.

“By comparability, at closest strategy Juno was greater than 10 occasions nearer to Jupiter than satellites in geosynchronous orbit [the location of some major U.S. weather satellites] are to Earth, touring at a pace about 5 occasions quicker than the Apollo missions did once they left Earth for the Moon,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained.

Credit score: Picture information: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI/MSSS / Picture processing by Andrea Luck CC BY­

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Juno arrived at Jupiter in 2016, on a mission to disclose the mysteries behind the biggest planet in our photo voltaic system: What’s beneath Jupiter’s dazzling clouds? What’s Jupiter made from? How, precisely, did Jupiter type? The spacecraft’s cameras and devices have already sleuthed Jupiter’s psychedelic ambiance for almost six years.

The distant spacecraft has an particularly thrilling flyby approaching in September 2022. Juno will swoop extraordinarily near Jupiter’s moon Europa, passing simply 221 miles from its icy floor. The area company hopes to seize detailed footage of the moon’s cracked, icy floor.

Europa is a captivating world. “Scientists are nearly sure that hidden beneath the icy floor of Europa is a salty-water ocean thought to comprise twice as a lot water as Earth’s oceans mixed,” writes NASA. “Europa would be the most promising place in our photo voltaic system to search out present-day environments appropriate for some type of life past Earth,” the area company added.

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