The Juno spacecraft sent by NASA on a mission to Jupiter took a good look at the gas giant. Jupiter revealed its north pole and auroras from the south pole for the camera.
According to Scott Bolton, the main investigator of Juno, it doesn’t look like anything scientists have expected. It looks stormier than they thought.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Juno entered its orbit in early July, after a voyage that lasted for five years. The unmanned spacecraft had to go through intense radiation and keep balance during the flybys. By the end of the mission, Juno will have made thirty flybys.
Juno is currently located 2,500 miles above the planet. That’s the nearest a spacecraft can reach with the current means of technology.
Bolton also said that the images were barely recognizable as belonging to Jupiter. The planet has a lot of novelties to offer: clouds with shadows, very active weather, with storms. This agitated weather looks nothing like the other gas giants – Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn.
Some scientists say that Jupiter has a protective effect for our planet. It acts as a cosmic shield, protecting us from impacts with large objects. With its powerful gravitation and its huge mass, Jupiter attracts any dangerous asteroids.
Bolton noted that Jupiter is truly unique, with its hurricanes which move in all directions, around the poles.
There will be thirty-six more flybys in Jupiter’s orbit, so Juno can take a good look at the characteristics of the planet. Scientists hope to uncover the mysteries of what the core of the planet is made of, what type of auroras the planet has and how they form.
Another interesting conclusion made by scientists recently is that Jupiter has clouds at high altitudes. Unfortunately, they do a good job at covering up the planet, so the relief is not visible yet.
The Juno will end its mission in February 2018, by diving into oblivion. This is because scientists do not want any Earth material to contaminate one of Jupiter’s moons – Europa. They hope the small satellite moon holds water and the elements of life, but they’re not sure of that yet.
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Image Source – Wikipedia