|Stats: 286 members, 6,382 topics. Date: March 23, 2017, 6:59 pm|
Cruising at a breakneck speed of 130,000 miles per hour, Juno zipped around Jupiter on Saturday morning, passing as close as it will get to the massive gas giant throughout its main mission.
On July 4, Juno arrived at Jupiter on a high-profile mission to study the planet, and has just finished a big orbit that took over 53 days to complete. During the close encounter with Jupiter on Saturday, it had all of its instruments on so it could analyze the planet as it passed within only 2,600 miles of its clouds.
"Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that everything worked as planned and Juno is firing on all cylinders," Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.
The space agency said that it will take some time for the data that the craft has gathered to be released, but that some higher-resolution photographs it took with JunoCam of Jupiter’s atmosphere and poles will be available in the coming weeks.
"We are in an orbit nobody has ever been in before, and these images give us a whole new perspective on this gas-giant world," Scott Bolton, the principal investigator of the Juno mission, said in the statement. Bolton previously spoke with FoxNews.com about Juno, explaining that its arrival on Independence Day earlier this summer was actually a coincidence.
Juno will complete many more orbits during its mission, which is planned to last through early 2018. After that, NASA will “deorbit” the craft into Jupiter, which will destroy it.
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