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US Space Probe Sends First Picture of Jupiter from Orbit

  • VOA News

This color view from NASA's Juno spacecraft is made from some of the first images taken by JunoCam after the spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter on July 5 (UTC). (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

NASA'S deep space probe Juno has sent back its first image of the planet Jupiter since arriving at the interstellar gas giant.

The U.S. space agency released a picture Tuesday showing Jupiter surrounded by three of its four largest moons — Io, Europa and Ganymeade.

Juno entered orbit around Jupiter last week after a five-year, 2.8 billion kilometer journey. Ground controllers deliberately kept the probe's camera — dubbed the JunoCam — and other instruments shut down as a precaution as Juno passed through Jupiter's extreme radiation environment.

The probe will spend the next 20 months studying the fifth — and biggest — planet in our solar system, to help scientists determine the foundations of our solar system, and to search for signs of a solid surface beneath its cloud-covered atmosphere.

The JunoCam is expected to send its first high-resolution images of Jupiter late next month, when the probe makes its next closest pass across the planet.