NASA’s spacecraft ‘Juno’ has completed its first 36 orbital flybys reaching so close to the Jupiter, the giant planet, than any other spacecraft in the history. The time of closest approach was recorded on Saturday at 1:44 GMT (6:44 a.m. PDT) when Juno passed about 4,200km above Jupiter’s cloud.
Images of Jupiter will be out in next couple of weeks. “We are getting some intriguing early data returns as we speak,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno. “It will take days for all the science data collected during the flyby to be downlinked and even more to begin to comprehend what Juno and Jupiter are trying to tell us,” added Bolton.
Juno entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4 after travelling nearly 2 billion miles in 5 years. It was launched on August 5, 2011 and will end in February 2018.
The solar-powered spacecraft ‘Juno’ is in a polar orbit to study deeply about Jupiter’s composition, magnetic field, gravity field, atmosphere, and magnetosphere.
Juno weighs 4-ton and is equipped with three 30-foot long solar arrays along with 18,696 individual solar cells to make the most of the solar power that Juno will receive on its Journey.