Science desk – NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent its first visible-light photo of Jupiter after arriving at the gas giant earlier this month, according to the US space agency.
The spacecraft sent to planet Jupiter on 5th August 2011 and entered Jupiter’s orbit on 4th July 2016
It will take weeks for high resolution pictures to arrive. JunoCam- the camera on board is fully functional and ready to send astonishing images mankind has never seen before, said the agency.
According to NASA, it is basically Juno’s eyes, meaning that it will provide color; visible-light images that will hopefully help the public understand and follow the mission as it unfolds.
“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,” says principal investigator Scott Bolton, from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
In June – right as it crossed into Jupiter’s magnetic field – Juno sent back some unusual audio recordings of supersonic solar winds.
This image was captured on 10th July, 4.3 million kilometers away from Jupiter during Juno’s first arrival in the gas giant’s orbit.
Jupiter and its three moon; Io, Europa, and Ganymede can be seen in the picture for the very first time.
The probe will get closer to the planet for taking high resolution images on 27th August.
“JunoCam will continue to take images as we go around in this first orbit,” says co-investigator Candy Hansen, from the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona.
The spacecraft is in a polar orbit to study Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.
Juno will also search for clues about how the planet formed, including whether it has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, mass distribution, and its deep winds, which can reach speeds of 618 kilometers per hour.
Juno is the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, following Galileo, which orbited from 1995 to 2003. The Juno spacecraft is powered by solar arrays, commonly used by satellites orbiting Earth and working in the inner Solar System, whereas radioisotope thermoelectric generators are commonly used for missions to the outer Solar System and beyond.