7;s Juno spacecraft flexed its muscles to photograph and capture stunning images of Jupiter’s swirling clouds.

Jupiter’s largest moon has a visitor on Monday.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft is 645 miles from Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system.

This flyby is the closest spacecraft to Ganymede since NASA’s Galileo spacecraft flew by on May 20, 2000.

“Juno carries a very sensitive set of tools that can see Ganymede in ways that have never been possible before,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator at Juno Southwest Research Institute. It said in a statement issued before the flight on Monday.

“By flying close We will bring Ganymede exploration into the 21st century and complement our future missions with our unique sensors. and help prepare for the next generation of missions in the Jovian system,” he said.

Photos from Monday’s Ganymede flyby should be back here on Earth by Friday, NASA spokesman David Agle told USA TODAY.

In addition to the amazing pictures Solar-powered spacecraft are also expected to provide insights into the composition of the moon, the iosphere, the magnetosphere. and ice crust

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Ganymede is larger than Mercury, NASA said, and about half the size of Earth. It is also the only moon in the solar system with its own magnetic field. This is the bubble-shaped region of charged particles that surround the moon.

So far, the only spacecraft with good visibility to Ganymede are NASA’s twin Voyager probes in 1979 and the Galileo spacecraft in 2000, said.

The massive Jovian moon will be the primary target of the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission, known as JUICE, which is scheduled to launch next year and arrive at the Jupiter system in 2029, according to

Matt Johnson, mission manager for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, released a statement before flying over Ganymede, saying, “On Monday, we will race past Ganymede at nearly 12 miles per second. 33rd of Jupiter which screams low above the cloud tops at about 36 miles per second.

“It will be an exciting journey,” Johnson said.

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