NASA's Juno probe captures first-ever shot of a moon moving


PASADENA, California — NASA's Juno probe has just given humanity a new perspective on the cosmos.

In the weeks leading up to the spacecraft's arrival at Jupiter Monday night (July 4), Juno captured a stunning video of the four Galilean moons — Callisto, Europa, Ganymede and Io — circling the giant planet in a first-of-its-kind view of celestial dynamics.

"In all of history, we've really never been able to see the motion of any heavenly body against another," Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton said Monday night during a news conference here at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory after Juno's successful arrival. [Juno Spacecraft's July 4 Jupiter Arrival: Complete Mission Coverage]

"Tonight, 540 million miles away, Juno performed a precisely choreographed dance at blazing speeds with the largest, most intense planet in our solar system", said Guy Beutelschies, director of Interplanetary Missions at Lockhead Martin Space Systems.

Upon its arrival, Juno passed within 2,900 miles of Jupiter's cloud top.

Further details on the Juno mission can be viewed here.

The mission will also offer a peak into Jupiter's "Great Red Spot", a storm bigger than Earth that has been raging for hundreds of years.

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JUNO: Jupiter has new visitor - a solar-powered spacecraft
Named after Jupiter's cloud-piercing wife in Roman mythology, Juno is only the second mission created to spend time at Jupiter. Juno will also study how deep the trademark Great Red Spot goes and why the centuries-old storm has shrunk in recent years.

Juno will orbit the planet 37 times before crashing into the surface in 2018.

The first goal of the mission was to see if we could get there.


Among the mysteries that scientists hope to solve over: Does Jupiter, dubbed "the most dominant object in the solar system", have a solid core? The spacecraft will first make two 53.5-day orbits of Jupiter. That would fry the average spacecraft, so Juno's hardware had to be encased in titanium so it can still take pictures and gather data.