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NASA’s Juno spacecraft completes first and closest orbit around Jupiter

NASA’s Jupiter probe has completed its first orbit around the biggest planet in our Solar System, Jupiter. The spacecraft named Juno has successfully achieved the feat on 27th August at around 7:14 p.m. in Indian Standard Time. This was the closest ever flyby of Jupiter throughout the entire mission of Juno. The space probe reached about 4200 km or 2600 miles near the gas giant in this flight. At the moment Juno came nearest to the swirling clouds of the planet, it was cruising close to a speed of 2,08,000 km per hour or 1,30,000 miles per hour with the Jupiter as the reference frame.

Till now everything is going perfectly for the spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. The mission’s project manager at NASA, Rick Nybakken, comments, “Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that everything worked as planned and Juno is firing on all cylinders.”

This is the first of the 36 total flybys scheduled in the mission. Juno will be completing the remaining 35 revolutions around Jupiter by February 2018. August 27 was also the day when the space probe activated all of its instruments and gazed at the gas giant with full potential.

The data collected in the latest flyby on Saturday will require days to be processed and analyzed. The Principal investor of the mission, Scott Bolton said, “We are getting some intriguing early data returns as we speak. 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.”

NASA will release the information acquired by the nearest flyby after it finishes analyzing it and it will take some time according to the Space Agency. However, some pictures of the first flight will be outed within a couple of weeks, which are taken by the probe’s visible spectrum camera, JunoCam. The forthcoming photographs will feature the most detailed views of Jupiter’s atmosphere, and a first glance at the gas giant’s the North Pole and the South Pole.

The Space Administration agency launched Juno on 5th August 2011 from Florida. It started its first orbit around Jupiter on July 5th, 2016. The prime target of the mission is to study the gravitational field, polar magnetosphere, magnetic field and the composition of the largest planet in our Solar System. Juno is the second man-made space probe to orbit around the gas giant.