Journey to Jupiter produces remarkable images This Aug. 27, 2016 image provided by NASA shows Jupiter's north polar region, taken by the Juno spacecraft 120,000 miles (195,000 kilometers) away from the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS via AP)
Journey to Jupiter produces remarkable images
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A NASA spacecraft has captured the best views of the planet Jupiter yet, revealing turbulent storms in the north pole.
 
Jupiter's northern polar region is stormier than expected and appears bluer than the rest of the planet, said mission chief scientist Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
 
"This image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter," he said in a statement.
 
On September 2, NASA released a batch of close-up pictures taken by the Juno spacecraft when it recently flew within 2,500 miles of Jupiter's dense cloud tops.
 
During the rendezvous that took Juno from pole to pole, the solar-powered spacecraft turned on its camera and instruments to collect data.
 
The first glimpse of Jupiter's poles came in 1974 when Pioneer 11 flew by on its way to Saturn.
 
The detailed pictures taken by Juno look "like nothing we have seen or imagined before," Bolton said.
 
Juno also sent back unique views of Jupiter's bright southern lights considered the most powerful in the solar system.
 
The flyby was the first of three dozen planned close passes during the 20-month mission.
 
Unlike rocky Earth and Mars, Jupiter is a gas giant that likely formed first, shortly after the sun. Studying the largest planet in the solar system may hold clues to understanding how Earth and the rest of the planets formed.
 
After a five-year journey, Juno slipped into orbit around Jupiter in July to map the massive planet's poles, atmosphere and interior. It's the first spacecraft to carry a titanium vault designed to shield its computer and electronics from intense radiation.
 
Juno is only the second mission to orbit Jupiter. When it completes its job in 2018, it will deliberately crash into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrate. NASA planned the finale so that Juno won't accidentally smack into Jupiter's moons, particularly the icy moon Europa, a target of future exploration.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the spacecraft solar powered?
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COMMENTS (12)
  • monicas-ste
    9/08/2016 - 01:14 p.m.

    This is so awesome. It's amazing how Jupiter has also helped us learn more about the planets. It says that it came after the sun. I never knew that.

  • nathanm14-ste
    9/08/2016 - 01:28 p.m.

    These pictures are pretty amazing, as is the planet Jupiter. It is amazing how the "Big Red Spot" storm has continued for hundreds of years and is twice the size of Earth. As well, it is also a wonder as of why a gas body so large did not just become a second sun, then we would live in a binary solar system. Jupiter is a wonder of the solar system and to see that people have an interest in it is totally cewl.

  • jareds-cel
    9/12/2016 - 09:26 a.m.

    Spacecrafts are solar powered for many reasons. One of them being that the air craft would stay close to the sun because of it being in outer space. Also the sun never runs out of energy so that means that the spacecraft would never lose power and the mission to Jupiter wouldn't fail.

  • sydneys-cel
    9/12/2016 - 09:58 a.m.

    The spacecraft is solar powered because Jupiter is very hot and is very reliable for solar power.

    • hansiddhs-eat
      9/12/2016 - 10:50 a.m.

      It cant be always reliable

  • annakatep-cel
    9/12/2016 - 10:33 a.m.

    The spacecraft is solar powered because it is traveling a long way through space. Jupiter is a gas planet that is made of gas and was the first planet formed after the sun. the spacecraft uses the solar energy to travel through space and fall in orbit with Jupiter in order to take pictures of the planet and learn more about it.

  • daytonb-pel
    9/13/2016 - 10:58 a.m.

    space craft is solar powered because they are in space and in space there is a sun that is super hot and it would be stupid to not use its power.

  • jahir-orv
    9/13/2016 - 07:21 p.m.

    Because the sun is always there and also the suns rays and energy(solar power)so there for the spacecraft will not power down or lose power as easily nor at all.

  • jacklynt-ste
    9/15/2016 - 01:17 p.m.

    Amazing views of Jupiter were finally captured and the pictures revealed turbulent storms in the north pole. The first picture of Jupiter's poles came when a spacecraft flew by accidentally on its way to Saturn. Juno is only the second mission to orbit Jupiter.

  • jarrod-war
    9/16/2016 - 10:19 a.m.

    I find it interesting how far human advancements have gone this far so we can study planets billions of miles from us. never knew it was made before the sun too

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