NASA's Juno Spacecraft Completes Fifth Flyby Of Jupiter

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NASA Juno spacecraft collected data during the flyby which has been beamed back to the Earth. This image, captured by the JunoCam on February 2nd, shows storms on the planet from an altitude of 9,000 miles. During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere.

NASA's Juno mission has completed another flyby of Jupiter, and the pictures are stunning.

JUNO orbits the planet Jupiter and is operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While from the original image of Jupiter it was hard to tell whether it was a dark storm, Tkachenko's enhanced version of the image reveals rich detail in the storm and surrounding clouds. These offered a new look at Jupiter and were captured by Juno.

All of Juno's eight science instruments will be on and collecting data during the flyby.

Juno has already made several discoveries about Jupiter's auroras and magnetic fields, as well as its cloud tops and composition.

Juno is the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after the nuclear powered Galileo orbiter, which orbited from 1995 to 2003. Such events can take place just once in 53 days.

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As such, Juno will continue on its current track up until the mission's end.

In February, a problem was detected with two helium valves of NASA Juno probe because of which the space agency had to scrap the plans of brining Juno into a closer orbit around Jupiter with a maneuver that would have brought the time it takes to circle the planet to 14 days.

Then NASA will consider extending Juno's mission another three years. The craft's next flyby won't happen until late May 2017, so it's a rare and exciting event when one of these close passes goes by without a hitch. This was the first flyby of the spaceship since NASA managers made a decision to maintain the craft in its current orbit, giving up to their plan of descending it into a tighter orbit. It arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

All eight of Juno's science instruments will remain switched on during the flyby, which comes nearly two months after the previous one.

"I think that's going to be a huge step", Green said.

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