NASA’s Juno spacecraft beams first photos from Jupiter

A NASA spacecraft has sent back the first pictures since arriving at Jupiter.

An image released Tuesday shows Jupiter surrounded by three of its four largest moons. The picture was taken on Saturday when the Juno spacecraft was circling 4.3 million kilometers away. Even at that distance, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a centuries-old atmospheric storm was visible.


Juno entered orbit around Jupiter last week after a five-year journey. It’s on a 20-month mission to map the giant planet’s poles, atmosphere and interior.

During the approach, the camera and instruments were powered off as a precaution as Juno braved intense radiation. The instruments were turned back on several days after the arrival.

Juno is currently cruising away from the planet, toward the more distant parts of a highly elliptical, 53-day orbit. Scientists have said close-ups of Jupiter won’t come until next month when Juno swings back around.