NASA’s $1 Billion Probe Just Sent Back Photos of Jupiter Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

Published March 30, 2017
Updated February 27, 2024

The probe's data transmissions meanwhile are rewriting what we thought we knew about the origins of our solar system.

Juno Shot
An artist's rendering of Juno.NASA/JPL-Caltech

Approaching Jupiter
A shot from Juno on the way to Jupiter.NASA

Stb Spectre Jupiter

Photos Of Jupiter By Juno Probe
Jupiter's swirling cloudsNASA/Processed by Palermo-24

Jupiter Enhanced

North Pole Jupiter
NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Roman Tkachenko © CC BY

Jupiter Photographs

Jupiter Photos By NASA
Gervasio Robles © PUBLIC DOMAIN

Black White Jupiter
Public Domain

Half Jupiter

Juno Swirls
Public Domain

Photographs Of Jupiter From The Juno Probe
Christina Chester © PUBLIC DOMAIN

Juno Waves
This is a perspective view that shows Jupiter from Juno's vantage point when the original image data was obtained.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Björn Jónsson © CC BY

South Pole Storms
Public Domain

Starry Night Jupiter
Photos from the probe have also been used to make more abstract art, including wallpaper, paintings, and this mashup with Van Gogh's "Starry Night."Public Domain

Roughly the size of a basketball court, NASA's Juno probe departed in 2011, hurtled through space for five years and finally made itself comfortable in Jupiter's orbit in July 2016.

Now, at about 415 million miles from Earth, it has made its fifth close flyby of the Gas Giant and the images it sent home are breathtaking.

"Every time we get near Jupiter's cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet," Scott Bolton, a principal Juno investigator said of the solar system's largest resident.

So far, they've discovered what Jupiter's poles look like for the first time (unlike any other planet's), and are continuing to study the swirling clouds and storms covering the planet's atmosphere (it's thought they might be linked to complicated currents from the planet's moon, Io).

Each batch of data sent back from the probe has been released to the public so that anyone can use editing tools to enhance the unprocessed photos into stunning images that combine science and art.

Traveling 129,000 miles per hour, Juno itself will never get closer than 2,700 miles from the cloud tops. Though that seems far, the data from the probe has already allowed scientists to rewrite what they thought they knew about giant planets and, possibly, the origins of our entire solar system.

Next, learn about NASA's bold new plan to make Mars habitable. Then, check out why a Harvard professor thinks aliens may have already come into contact with humans.

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Kuroski, John. "NASA’s $1 Billion Probe Just Sent Back Photos of Jupiter Like You’ve Never Seen It Before.", March 30, 2017, Accessed April 20, 2024.