A color view from NASA’s Juno spacecraft made from some of the first images taken by JunoCam after the spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter on July 5th. Credit: NASA
NASA recently published the first images captured by the Juno spacecraft.
“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,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “We can’t wait to see the first view of Jupiter’s poles.”
The new view was obtained on July 10, when the spacecraft was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter on the outbound leg of its initial 53.5-day capture orbit. The color image shows atmospheric features on Jupiter, including the famous Great Red Spot, and three of the massive planet’s four largest moons — Io, Europa and Ganymede, from left to right in the image.
JunoCam is a color, visible-light camera designed to capture remarkable pictures of Jupiter’s poles and cloud tops. As Juno’s eyes, it will provide a wide view, helping to provide context for the spacecraft’s other instruments. JunoCam was included on the spacecraft specifically for purposes of public engagement; although its images will be helpful to the science team, it is not considered one of the mission’s science instruments.
The Juno team is currently working to place all images taken by JunoCam on the mission’s website, where the public can access them.
During its mission of exploration, Juno will circle the Jovian world 37 times, soaring low over the planet’s cloud tops — as close as about 2,600 miles. During these flybys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.