Ride on a flyby of Jupiter! NASA’s Juno spacecraft soars just 2,000 miles above the gas giant’s cloud tops in mesmerizing clip
- New NASA clip shows Juno’s 41st close flyby of Jupiter, which occurred on April 9
- At its closest point, Juno was just over 2,050 miles above Jupiter’s cloud tops
- Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2011 to study Jupiter from orbit
NASA has released a new clip of its Juno spacecraft flying over Jupiter’s clouds as it performs another flyby of the planet.
The new footage, captured by Juno on April 9 during its 41st flyby of Jupiter, shows what it would be like to taxi with the spacecraft.
At its closest point, Juno was just over 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers) above the colorful cloud tops of Jupiter.
At that time, it was moving about 131,000 miles per hour (210,000 kilometers per hour) relative to the planet, according to NASA.
Artist’s impression of NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft with Earth in the background
distance from the sun: 750 million km
Orbital period: 12 years
Area: 61.42 billion km²
Ray: 69,911 km
Mass: 1.898 × 10^27 kg (317.8 M⊕)
Length of day: 0d 9h 56m
Moons: 53 with formal designations; countless additional moonlets
“Citizen scientist Andrea Luck created this animated footage using raw JunoCam image data,” NASA said in a statement.
These raw images are publicly available on NASA’s Juno Mission webpage.
During the April 9 flyby, Juno was more than 10 times closer to Jupiter than satellites in geosynchronous orbit are to Earth, the space agency also said.
It was traveling at a speed about five times faster than the Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s when they left Earth for the moon.
Juno is a solar-powered spacecraft that spans the width of a basketball court and performs long looping orbits around Jupiter.
It has three giant blades extending about 66 feet (20 meters) from its six-sided cylindrical body.
Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida more than a decade ago – on August 5, 2011 – to study Jupiter from orbit.
The spacecraft successfully entered Jovian orbit on July 5, 2016, after completing its five-year journey.
Raw images from Jupiter’s April flyby are publicly available on NASA’s Juno Mission webpage
Juno will continue its investigation of the largest planet in the solar system until September 2025, or until the end of the spacecraft’s life.
In June 2021, Juno passed close by Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon and the largest moon in our solar system.
It passed within 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) of the icy moon, which also has its own magnetic field.
Audio picked up by the space probe revealed a strange series of beeps and bloops at different frequencies coming from the Jovian moon.
Stunning footage was also captured by Juno’s onboard JunoCam imager as it flew over Ganymede at nearly 12 miles per second.
How NASA’s Juno probe to Jupiter will reveal the secrets of the largest planet in the solar system
The Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile journey from Earth
The Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a five-year, 1.8 billion mile (2.8 billion km) journey from Earth.
After a successful braking maneuver, it entered a long polar orbit flying less than 3,100 miles (5,000 km) from the planet’s swirling cloud tops.
The probe flew just 2,600 miles (4,200 km) from the planet’s clouds once every fortnight – too close to provide global coverage in a single image.
No previous spacecraft has orbited this close to Jupiter, although two others have been sent plunging to destruction through its atmosphere.
To carry out its risky mission, Juno survived a circuit-frying radiation storm generated by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field.
The maelstrom of high-energy particles moving near the speed of light is the harshest radiation environment in the solar system.
To cope with the conditions, the spacecraft was protected with special radiation-resistant wiring and sensor shielding.
Its all-important “brain” – the spacecraft’s flight computer – was housed in a titanium armored vault and weighed nearly 400 pounds (172 kg).
The spacecraft should study the composition of the planet’s atmosphere until 2025.