The probe also carries a tiny camera, for the main purpose of letting the public go for a “ride” to the Jovian system. Now, the first photo has been beamed back to Earth, showing the gas giant from orbit.
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The photo was taken six days after Juno’s rendezvous, being roughly 4.3-million kilometres away from the planet, on the outbound leg of its initial orbit, NASA explained.
The space agency added that better quality snaps were still a few weeks away, with the team expecting the first close, high-resolution snaps to be taken on 27 August.
Expect sharper images next month
Nevertheless, the first photo still makes for an important step.
“This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter’s extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute, in a statement.
“We can’t wait to see the first view of Jupiter’s poles.”
Juno is expected to accomplish 37 orbits of Jupiter, being as close as 4100 kilometres to the gas giant. Its main mission will see it mapping the planet’s magnetic field and gathering data on its atmosphere and auroras.