NASA's Juno Mission reached the milestone of successfully completing its 50th orbit around Jupiter over the past weekend. With a half-century down, the space agency marked the feat by reliving the top highlights of the mission that aims to unravel the truth about Jupiter's origin and mysterious evolution.
NASA took to Twitter to share 50 glimpses of the JunoCam's close pass of Jupiter. The collage displays vibrant faces of Jupiter and its celestial events. "Designed to endure at least 7 passes through Jupiter's intense radiation, the JunoCam instrument has survived 50 so far – and it’s still going strong," the space agency tweeted.
It revealed that images captured by JunoCam are formulated by citizen scientists who "apply their tech skills and eye for beauty to the raw data Juno sends from Jupiter". While the mission might have completed 50 orbits, it is nowhere close to reaching its conclusion. According to NASA, "Juno’s most exciting exploration is still to come!" and it will be exploring the planet's ring system, cruising through the night side of the planet, and coming close to its volcanic world as part of the extended mission.
The #JunoMission completed its 50th close pass of Jupiter this past weekend. Relive highlights from its journey around the solar system’s largest planet, download high-res images and learn more: https://t.co/ypeQGUgQDY pic.twitter.com/zx5UMbWCtB— NASA (@NASA) April 10, 2023
Meanwhile, Jupiter continues to intrigue space agencies on Earth, with the European Space Agency set to kick off an eight-year-long mission worth £1.4 billion to search for signs of life on the planet. Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, known by the acronym Juice, will embark on a quest to find where the greatest reserves of water are present in the solar system.
“What we’ve learned on Earth is where you find water, you quite often find life. When we look out in the solar system, places that have [liquid] water in the present day are really restricted to Earth, and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn," Mark Fox-Powell from the Open University in England told Scientific American.