The awesome beauty of Jupiter captured by Juno, in 13 photos

For the past two years, the spacecraft has been taking photos of Jupiter. Here are the best shots. 

On July 4, 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter traveling at a blistering 130,000 mph. Its mission — to orbit the gas giant closer than any craft had done before — was not easy.

Like Earth, Jupiter is surrounded by a field of magnetic radiation. But Jupiter’s is much, much stronger. If Juno didn’t hit a precise region at the poles where the magnetic field is the weakest in its entry, it wouldn’t have survived; the radiation would have fried the craft.

Juno hit its mark, and Scott Bolton, who leads Mission Juno, called it “the hardest thing NASA has ever done.” Since then, Juno has been completing an orbit of Jupiter once every 53 days.

Jupiter, north to south

This is what Juno sees as it completes its orbit from pole to pole, which takes about two hours.

Jupiter is made up of the same basic ingredients as the sun — mainly hydrogen and helium. With 69 moons, Jupiter is kind of like the solar system in miniature. Scientists are hoping a close-up investigation of its surface can reveal some history of the origin of our solar system. And studying Jupiter helps us understand the cosmos better.

Low 3D Flyover from Juno Spacecraft of Jupiter’s North Pole

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