The first images are now coming through to NASA from this week’s flyby of Jupiter by its Juno spacecraft.
This latest close flyby is the 37th of the mission, but this basketball court-sized spacecraft’s images of the giant planet never cease to amaze.
This week’s images even include a rare photo of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
Now just past the tenth anniversary of its launch, Juno began to orbit Jupiter on July 4, 2016 after a five-year, 1,740-million-mile/2,800-million-kilometer journey. Since then it has been conducting a close flyby of the planet roughly every six weeks or so.
The images you see here are from a bevy of incredible “citizen scientists,” who after each perijove (close flyby) download the raw data from JunoCam—the spacecraft’s on-board two-megapixel camera—via the NASA mission’s special website.
>New Research Finds A Connection Between Domestic Violence And These Two Personality Disordersh3 data-ga-track="Most Popular - Automated Recirc - Link 2"">
>This Scientist Helps Andean Forests And Ecuador’s Women In STEMh3 data-ga-track="Most Popular - Automated Recirc - Link 3"">
>Exceptional Fossil Preservation Suggests That Discovering Dinosaur DNA May Not Be Impossible
The likes of Kevin M. Gill, Brian Swift, Andrea Luck, Björn Jónsson, Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran then skilfully process and colour-correct them to create these magnificent views. The past few years has seen dozens of some wonderful images of Jupiter.
Juno is in a highly elliptical polar orbit, so instead of constantly returning images it only takes photos when it’s very close to the giant planet. It spins to keep itself stable as it makes its long oval-shaped orbits.
Juno is up there to study Jupiter’s composition, magnetic field, magnetosphere, to measure water present within its atmosphere, and its winds, among other things.
So far it’s sent back to NASA over three terabits of science data, but after a flyby of Jupiter’s biggest moon, Ganymede the $1.1 billion spacecraft this year begun a new second phase of its mission after completing its core five-year survey of the giant planet.
That added 42 extra orbits to its mission, which will allow it to operate through September 2025. This second phase of the mission will be particularly exciting because it will include:
- Close passes of Jupiter’s north polar cyclones.
- Flybys of the moons Europa and Io.
- The first exploration of the faint rings encircling Jupiter.
According to NASA, Juno will also continue expand on discoveries it’s already made about Jupiter’s interior structure, internal magnetic field, atmosphere (including polar cyclones, deep atmosphere, and aurora), and magnetosphere.
However, on this 37th perijove Juno was also able to get a relatively close-up image of Jupiter’s moon Europa, which was recently revealed by NASA to have water vapor in its atmosphere.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the cylindrical, six-sided Juno spacecraft has three blades stretching out 66 feet/20 meters.
Juno is not the first orbiter to visit the Jovian system—that title goes to NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which orbited 35 times from 1995 through 2003.
With Juno’s demise in the mid-2020s there will be no presence at Jupiter, though that won’t last for long. NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will launch in late 2024 and arrive in the Jovian system in 2030 to orbit Jupiter’s moon Europa 32 times. Europa was recently revealed to have water in its atmosphere.
The following year, 2031, should see the arrival of the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) mission, which will launch next year.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2021/10/20/in-photos-jaw-dropping-new-images-of-jupiter-and-its-wet-moon-europa-taken-this-week-by-nasas-juno-spacecraft/1507