NASA has sent into the outer space the first solar-powered spacecraft, the Juno probe, which is now orbiting around Jupiter. Recently, the rover managed to take and send a couple of spectacular images of the giant planet during its latest mission. During its mission, the spacecraft Juno was traveling at 5.375 miles above the planet’s atmosphere with a speed of 127.000 mph.
Juno was launched into space back in 2011, and it managed to complete its journey to reach Jupiter in 5 years. Since 2016, the spacecraft completed 26 orbits around the giant planet. Juno is part of the “New Frontiers” researcher conducted by NASA.
The spaceship is situated slightly far from the planet but manages to do a deep-dive flyby, analyzing the planet’s remarkable clouds. Initially, the spacecraft was programmed to perform an entire orbit in only 14 days. Unfortunately, technical reasons have forced scientists to reduce the speed of the spacecraft. Up until now, a rotation around Jupiter is produced in 53 days.
Spectacular images of Jupiter
Researchers were amazed by one of the pictures in particular, which demonstrates the complexity presented by Jupiter’s cloud tops. The scientist Kevin M. Gill has been the one that managed to process all the little shots sent by the rover and combine them to create the image of the planet’s atmosphere.
The image portrays the small and bright pop-up clouds. They manage to contour the tops and edges of the existing swirling patterns. In the meantime, several areas present a greater depth, being represented by the darker areas.
The Juno probe is powered by solar energy, being the spacecraft situated at the furthest distance from our planet that uses solar technology to have electricity. It is located at 493 million miles away from the Sun. The mission will end for Juno in 2021, therefore, enjoy the impressive images of Jupiter sent by Juno until it lasts.