NASA’s Juno spacecraft got an up-close-and-personal look at Jupiter’s most recognizable beauty mark, returning a glut of really gorgeous RAW images. And thanks to the scientific community, people have wasted no time processing the pictures, which are utterly breathtaking.
Earlier this week, NASA announced Juno had successfully completed its close flyby of the Great Red Spot, a 10,000-mile-wide Jovian storm that scientists believe has been raging for hundreds of years. When Juno made its close approach, the spacecraft came within just 5,600 miles of the swirling force of nature. That’s a little too close for comfort in my book.
NASA has been pretty welcoming to the community when it comes to Juno, encouraging folks to edit the image and even pick out spots to photograph next. Since reaching Jupiter’s orbit just over a year ago, NASA claims the spacecraft has logged 71 million miles of travel, which means there are a lot of photos to go through.
The purpose of Juno’s mission is to study deep beneath Jupiter’s thick cloud cover, hopefully giving scientists a better idea of how the planet formed.
“For generations people from all over the world and all walks of life have marveled over the Great Red Spot,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno.
Now that Juno has completed its daredevil mission, NASA has the information it needs to better understand what makes the massive storm tick. Information from the flyby is still being sent back to Earth to be analyzed, with the next close flyby planned for September 1.