11 months ago
Five years ago, NASA sent a $1 billion probe on a 415 million-mile mission to Jupiter. Now, the Juno probe is finally paying dividends, and the images it is sending back to Earth are beautiful.
The NASA probe is breaking new scientific ground as well, photographing the planet’s poles for the first time. The photos also show Jupiter’s unique auroras and watercolor-like cloud formations. But Juno’s mission hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park.
The gas giant’s radiation bands are damaging to Juno’s electronics, so it’s needed to travel in wide arcs around Jupiter to avoid spending too much time exposed to them, according to Engadget. This flight pattern limits how close and how often the probe can approach Jupiter.
Monday was only Juno’s fifth flyby, but this one seemed worth the trouble. The probe transmitted the high-resolution images in black and white, but astronomers colorized them to accurately represent how they might look from Juno’s perspective.
The probe’s next flyby is scheduled for May 19th.
See more photos in all their celestial splendor below.