By Jove! Juno-cam sends back first postcard

This July 10 close-up showcases Jupiter and some of its moons

The Juno spacecraft snapped this image of Jupiter and three of its moons on July 10.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

On July 4, the Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter. It had just completed a 5-year trek across some 2.8 billion kilometers (1.74 million miles) of space. It quickly entered orbit about the planet. The tiny spacecraft survived its first encounter with Jupiter’s intense radiation. Proof came when its camera sent back this panoramic snapshot on July 10. It shows Jupiter (left) with its great red spot and three of the gas giant’s four biggest moons. At the time this photo was made, the craft was 4.3 million kilometers  (2.7 million miles) from the planet. Now Juno is swinging out away from the planet. It’s on the outbound leg of its first 53.5-day orbit of Jupiter. It won’t get close enough for true high-resolution images until August 27. But this postcard confirms that the spacecraft is ready to begin its real work. That will be sending back photos and other data to help astronomers better understand our solar system’s biggest planet.

Janet Raloff is the editor of Science News for Students. Prior to this, she was an environmental reporter for Science News, specializing in toxicology. To her never-ending surprise, her daughter became a toxicologist.

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