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Juno Snaps First Photo From Jupiter's Orbit

First Posted: Jul 13, 2016 05:25 AM EDT
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NASA's Juno is expected to get even closer to Jupiter than any other satellite in space exploration history. And even though it's still making its way near the enormous planet, it has already sent a number of exciting images on Earth.

According to space.com, Juno snapped a picture that showed Jupiter's infamous Great Red Spot with some of its cloud belts and three large Jovian moons, Europa, Ganymede and Io using the space craft's visible-light JunoCam instrument.

Juno was around 2.7 million miles (4.3 million kilometers) away from Jupiter when the pictures were taken, NASA officials said.

"This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter's extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter," Scott Bolton, principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said.

"We can't wait to see the first view of Jupiter's poles," Bolton added.

Meanwhile, Juno touched down Jupiter on the 4th of July after an almost five year journey through deep space. Mashable reported that the probe's science instruments were not turned on the time the spacecraft arrived on the planet to lessen complications during a critical 35-minute-long orbital insertion burn.

The crew on board Juno started turning on a number of instruments on July 6, and the JunoCam was turned-on on Sunday, according to NASA officials.

Juno is said to be on its way toward the more distant parts of a highly elliptical, 53-day orbit.

"JunoCam will continue to take images as we go around in this first orbit," Juno co-investigator Candy Hansen, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, said in the same statement. "The first high-resolution images of the planet will be taken on Aug. 27, when Juno makes its next close pass to Jupiter."

Today Online also reported that the JunoCam, along with other instruments on the space crafts, will further investigate about the Jupiter's composition, which has been said to have an increased levels of sulphur, nitrogen, and other noble gases than what was expected of a planet which was basically formed from left over gases from the Sun's creation.

Experts also claimed that this space mission will help people on Earth understand how and when Jupiter was formed. Reports said that current theories suggest everything started near the Sun, and moved outward to its current location over a period of a few million years. However, experts are expecting that everything will make more sense soon.

Juno will also study Jupiter's weather systems, with a view to applying what humans learn to our understanding of the Earth's own weather. However, Juno's most important observations will be focused on the magnetosphere.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

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