KMSP - NASA launched the Juno spacecraft from Earth 5 years ago and is finally set to arrive in Jupiter’s orbit on July 4. On its way in, it is beginning to capture some images of the huge planet that we have never seen before. This picture was obtained on June 21, 2016, at a distance of 6.8 million miles (10.9 million kilometers) from the planet’s surface.
The giant planet's four largest moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) are visible, and the alternating light and dark bands of the planet's clouds are just beginning to come into view. Juno is approaching over Jupiter's North Pole, something that has never been done before as all previous spacecraft flying by Jupiter have approached from a much different angle.
The JunoCam, as NASA is calling it, has been designed to acquire high resolution views of features in Jupiter’s atmosphere while the satellite is in orbit. The mission is set to last a year and hopefully give us a further understanding of just how our solar system formed and what exact Jupiter is made up of.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS