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NASA’s Juno Captures Breathtaking Views of Jupiter

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Beautiful pictures of Jupiter’s cloud tops were recently taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its 52nd close flyby in June of last year. With a two-megapixel camera, Juno keeps a fixed orbit around Jupiter, avoiding the planet’s dangerous gravitational pull while staying close enough to take close-up pictures. Remarkably, Juno is currently the solar-powered spacecraft that is furthest from Earth.

Having completed its initial orbit around Jupiter in July 2016, Juno, constructed by Lockheed Martin, is operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The spacecraft boasts an elliptical orbit, allowing it to traverse Jupiter’s cloud tops and conduct flybys of its significant moons. Additionally, Juno’s extended mission involves exploring Jupiter’s moons, including Ganymede, Europa, Callisto, and Io.

 

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Every 32 days, Juno completes one orbit around Jupiter. In 2022, it will make close approaches to Ganymede and Europa, the latter of which is of special interest to astrobiologists looking for evidence of life. In May of last year, Juno made incredible photographs of Jupiter’s moon Io from a mere 22,060 miles above the planet’s surface, revealing the moon’s ferocious volcanic activity.

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