NASA’s Juno probe has approached Jupiter and its largest moon,, more than any other spacecraft in more than two decades – and the images it broadcast in the back of And his ice orb is breathtaking.
JunoOn June 7, before making its 34th flight from Jupiter the next day, traveling from one pole to another in less than three hours.
On Thursday, NASA released an animated series of images captured by the spacecraft’s JunoCam photographer, providing a “spacecraft captain” view of every flight. It represents the first close-up view of the largest moon in the solar system since the last time the Galileo spacecraft flew by in 2000.
The time-lapse animation lasts three and a half minutes, and guides space enthusiasts 645 miles from Ganymede at 41,600 mph. The images show the lighter and darker regions of the moon, which are thought to be the result of ice sublimation, the transition from a solid to a gaseous state.
Also visible is the Truss crater, one of the largest and brightest crater scars on the Moon.
Then the animation moves toThe 735,000 mile journey from Ganymede takes 14 hours and 50 minutes from Juneau. Viewers are brought within 2,100 miles of The planet’s strong gravity is accelerating the probe to nearly 130,000 miles per hour.
Visible from this perspective are cyclones in the arctic of the gas giant, as well as five “strings of pearls” – giant storms circulating in the Southern Hemisphere, appearing as white ovals.
“The animation shows how beautiful deep space exploration can be,” said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator. statement. “Animation is a way for people to imagine up close exploring our solar system by seeing what it would be like to orbit Jupiter and fly across one of its icy moons. Today, as we approach the exciting prospect of humans being able to visit space in Earth orbit, it is pushing This is our imagination for decades into the future, when humans visit exotic worlds in our solar system.”
The NASA animation team also simulated the lightning that would be visible if you were actually watching one of Jupiter’s thunderstorms in person. The camera viewpoint animation was created by citizen Gerald Eichstadt, using composite images of the planet and moon.
“This is the closest spacecraft to this giant moon in a generation,” Bolton said. “We’ll take our time before we draw any scientific conclusions, but until then we can simply marvel at this celestial wonder, the only moon in our solar system larger than Mercury.”
Jupiter’s next flight, the 35th such Juno flight, is scheduled for July 21.