“Into the Unknown” –NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Makes Final Approach Towards Jupiter (VIDEO)

 

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‘This is our first opportunity to really take a close-up look at the king of our solar system,’ says Scott Bolton, an investigator for the Juno probe, as the spacecraft orbited closer to the giant planet than any man-made object before it, in a record-breaking approach on Saturday by soaring around 2,600 miles above the planet at a speed of 130,000 mph. Juno is expected to capture astonishing images and important scientific data about Jupiter’s composition, gravity, magnetic field, and the source of its 384 mph winds, say mission controllers at NASA.


Bolton, a principle investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio in Texas, said Juno would have its whole suite of nine instruments activated as it soars above Jupiter’s swirling cloud tops. The instruments had previously been switched off so as to survive the entry into the planet’s dangerous radiation belts.

 

                                          

 

“This is the first time we will be close to Jupiter since we entered orbit on 4 July. Back then we turned all our instruments off to focus on the rocket burn to get Juno into orbit around Jupiter,” said Bolton. “Since then, we have checked Juno from stem to stern and back again. We still have more testing to do, but we are confident that everything is working great, so for this upcoming flyby Juno’s eyes and ears, our science instruments, will all be open. This is our first opportunity to really take a close-up look at the king of our solar system and begin to figure out how he works.”

NASA says they hope to release some of the first detailed pictures of Jupiter’s north and south poles. It could take some days for the images to be downloaded on Earth.

The Daily Galaxy via NASA/Juno Mission and The Independent.

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