This Week at NASA: Juno's Spectacular Flyby of Jupiter and More

17 Juillet, 2017, 15:10 | Author: Come Portier
  • Jupiter

An unmanned NASA spacecraft is about to fly over a massive storm raging on Jupiter, in a long- awaited a journey that could shed new light on the forces driving the planet's Great Red Spot.

The agency has uploaded raw images featuring the spot and the area around it on the JunoCam website. "Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm", said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

The Great Red Spot measured 10,159 miles (16,350 kilometers) wide on April 3 of this year, which is 1.3 times the size of the Earth.

NASA releases close-up photos of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Information was still arriving Thursday from Juno's science instruments. It's hard to imagine how anything could, since the Great Red Spot is a storm that's been raging for hundreds of years, if not longer. At mission's end in 2018, Juno will plunge into the planet's atmosphere, just like the Cassini mission now orbiting Saturn. The Great Red Spot won't be in Juno's scopes then, however.

Juno launched in 2011 and began orbiting Jupiter past year. It is only the second spacecraft to orbit the solar system's largest planet, but is passing much closer than NASA's Galileo did from 1995 through 2003.

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