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New NASA Animation Provides ‘Starship Captain’ View of Recent Jupiter, Ganymede Flybys

Published on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 | 3:18 pm
NASA released an animation on July 14, 2021, made from images taken during flybys of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, and the gas giant, itself, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory-managed Juno spacecraft on June 7 and June 8, 2021. (Composite) (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

NASA released a new animated video Wednesday showing details from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory-managed Juno spacecraft’s flybys of Jupiter and its massive icy moon, Ganymede, last month.

Juno made its recent close approach to Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter and also the largest in the solar system, on June 7, according to JPL. It was the first space probe to visit Ganymede in more than 20 years.

The robotic space explorer made a close pass of Jupiter the following day.

“Using the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager, the mission team has put together [an] animation to provide a ‘starship captain’ point of view of each flyby,” JPL said in a written statement.

Juno is managed by JPL on behalf of the principal investigator Scott J. Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, officials said. It’s part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program.

“The animation shows just how beautiful deep space exploration can be,” he said. “The animation is a way for people to imagine exploring our solar system firsthand by seeing what it would be like to be orbiting Jupiter and flying past one of its icy moons.”

“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,” Bolton added.

Juno whizzed by Ganymede at a distance of just 645 miles, traveling at a relative velocity of 41,600 mph, according to JPL.

It took the spacecraft less than 15 hours to then reach Jupiter, roughly 735,000 miles away. The probe traveled within 2,100 miles of Jupiter’s clouds, the statement explained. By the time it reached Jupiter, the gas giant’s gravity had accelerated it to a relative speed of 130,000 mph.

Juno’s next Jupiter flyby is scheduled for July 21.

More information on the Juno mission is available online at


JPL’s Juno Spacecraft Has Close Encounter With Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede

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