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NASA’s Juno space probe kisses Jupiter’s atmosphere

NASA’s Juno space craft has succeeded in making the first of 36 orbital flybys of Jupiter.

The first flyby, which is also the closest Juno will come to Jupiter, took place on Saturday — the probe passed by at an altitude of just 4200km.

“Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that everything worked as planned and Juno is firing on all cylinders,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, according to the space agency.

The flyby marked the first time that the probe had all its scientific instruments enabled.

NASA’s Juno is in an orbit nobody has ever been in before

The probe’s JunoCam also took some shots during the orbital flyby, but these are only expected to be released in the “coming weeks”. These pictures are set to be the highest resolution shots of the gas giant’s atmosphere yet, while also delivering landmark snaps of the planet’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 Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting shots already, such as the 27 August snap below, when the craft was 703 000km away from Jupiter.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More

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