Nasa’s Juno completes first Jupiter flyby, 35 more to go | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Nasa’s Juno completes first Jupiter flyby, 35 more to go

world Updated: Aug 29, 2016 07:07 IST

Jupiter's north polar region is coming into view as NASA's Juno spacecraft approaches the giant planet. (AFP)

Nasa’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft executed its first Jupiter ‘flyby’, passing 4,200 km above the gas giant’s swirling clouds, the closest ever by a man-made probe.

Juno’s entire suite of instruments were activated for the first time on August 27 after the flyby, NASA said.

This flyby was the closest Juno will get to Jupiter during its mission.

“Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that everything worked as planned and Juno is firing on all cylinders,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US.

35 more flybys have been planned during Juno’s mission scheduled to end in February 2018.

“We are getting some intriguing early data returns as we speak,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

“It will take days for all the science data collected during the flyby to be downlinked and even more to begin to comprehend what Juno and Jupiter are trying to tell us,” said Bolton.

Graphic illustrating the US probe Juno as it flew by the planet Jupiter Saturday at the closest point it will reach during its mission. (AFP)

During the approach, Juno passed about 4,200 kilometres above Jupiter’s clouds, travelling at 208,000 kilometres per hour with respect to the planet.

While results from the spacecraft’s suite of instruments will be released down the road, a handful of images from Juno’s visible light imager - JunoCam - are expected to be released the next couple of weeks.

Those images will include the highest-resolution views of the Jovian atmosphere and the first glimpse of Jupiter’s north and south poles.

“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,” said Bolton.

The Juno spacecraft was launched on August 5, 2011, from Florida, and arrived at Jupiter on July 4 this year.