Home >News >World >NASA's Juno spacecraft flies past solar system's biggest moon, Jupiter. Watch video

The US space agency NASA has recently released a new video in which its Juno spacecraft was seen flying close to Jupiter's moon Ganymede.

Later, Juno made its 34th flyby of Jupiter, racing over its roiling atmosphere from pole to pole, NASA added.

Using the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager, the NASA mission team has put together this animation to provide a “starship captain" point of view of each flyby.

"Today, as we approach the exciting prospect of humans being able to visit space in orbit around Earth, this propels our imagination decades into the future, when humans will be visiting the alien worlds in our solar system," Scott Bolton, principal investigator for Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said.

The 3:30-minute-long animation begins with Juno approaching Ganymede, passing within 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) of the surface at a relative velocity of 41,600 mph (67,000 kph).

The imagery shows several of the moon’s dark and light regions (darker regions are believed to result from ice sublimating into the surrounding vacuum, leaving behind darkened residue) as well as the crater Tros, which is among the largest and brightest crater scars on Ganymede.

It takes just 14 hours, 50 minutes for Juno to travel the 735,000 miles (1.18 million kilometers) between Ganymede and Jupiter, and the viewer is transported to within just 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s spectacular cloud tops. By that point, Jupiter’s powerful gravity has accelerated the spacecraft to almost 130,000 mph (210,000 kph) relative to the planet.

The next flyby of Jupiter, the 35th of the mission, is scheduled for July 21, NASA said.

Jupiter has a total of 79 moons. Ganymede, a satellite of Jupiter, is the largest and most massive of the solar system's moons. Jupiter is roughly 390 million miles away from Earth.

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