NASA’s Juno spacecraft sent its first picture of Jupiter after placing itself into orbit around the largest planetary inhabitant of the solar system. The picture was taken when the spacecraft was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter on July 10 at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
“This scene from JunoCam [the camera onboard Juno] indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter’s extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter,” principal investigator from San Antonio’s Southwest Research Institute, Scott Bolton said in a statement released on NASA’s website, “We can't wait to see the first view of Jupiter's poles.”
— NASA's Juno Mission (@NASAJuno) July 12, 2016
Juno’s visible-light camera was turned on six days after Juno entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 6. High-resolution images of the giant planet are still a few weeks away, the statement said.
“JunoCam will continue to take images as we go around in this first orbit,” Juno co-investigator from Arizona’s Planetary Science Institute Candy Hansen said, “The first high-resolution images of the planet will be taken on August 27 when Juno makes its next close pass to Jupiter.”
The new image received shows the famous Great Red Spot and three of the planet’s four largest moons, Io, Europa and Ganymede.
The pictures sent from the spacecraft will be uploaded on the mission’s website for public access. The spacecraft will circle the gas planet 37 times during the mission soaring as close as 2,600 miles to Jupiter. Juno will investigate the cloud cover of Jupiter and study its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere, the statement said.