The onboard camera of NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent the first image from orbit to Earth from 4.3 million km away. And especially a message in their own right: JunoCam undamaged survived its first flight by the extreme radiation of Jupiter. Ready for the photo shoot.
The cheering in the control center was great when the NASA spacecraft Juno turned off their engines on the 4th of July. With a deliberate ignition was the probe swung earlier in the orbit of Jupiter and had successfully survived a critical point in this complex mission. Now there’s first news from the orbit of Jupiter. JunoCam, the camera aboard the probe, has sent a photo to the Earth. You don’t see too much yet, but that should change soon.
37 Jupiter rounds planned
The first image, which has included the JunoCam, shows Jupiter and three of its largest moons, IO, Europa and Ganymede. The photo is taken from a distance of 4.3 million km and quite out of focus. The really high-res photos are expected only in a few weeks, when Juno closer to Jupiter. Initially it was Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, which leads the Juno mission scientists in the Jet, the functionality of the camera. Like all other instruments aboard the probe she was turned off while on landing approach in the orbit, to prevent the strong radiation.
So now, Juno on the first of a total of 37 planned rounds over the poles of Jupiter, the largest planet of our solar system is located. An orbit around each 53.5 days. During this first round, the JunoCam, photographed in the visible spectrum, will provide more pictures. On 27 August, the probe up to 4100 km, approaching the gas giants, there then high-resolution images of the Poland and the clouds.
Strictly speaking, the camera is not belongs to the scientific instruments aboard Juno. The pictures of the JunoCam are although helpful for the team of scientists, to deliver a visible context for the other instruments, NASA said. But the JunoCam was taken with mainly, to provide images for the general public on Earth.
A note on how important and also easy it has become nowadays to satisfy the interest for such complex and costly missions for the non-scientists. Juno has an account on Facebook and Twitter. Now, NASA wants to set up a website, on which the images of the JunoCam are always up to date.
For five years, is already on the road Juno at all and has traveled on arrival at their destination of Jupiter around 2,800 million km. The probe will be the first, which will orbit the giant planet on the pole. The scientists expect more evaluable data thereby substantially, when Juno would revolve around the equator.