When we hear about “probes” flying around space, we probably think of something fairly small. We’ve all heard them on sci-fi TV shows. “Sent out a probe”, and off flies a little drone-like object. Well, not NASA’s Juno probe. This thing is as big as a basketball court. Launched in 2011, the probe took five years to reach and then settle into orbit around Jupiter, 415 million miles away.
Juno orbits in an extremely wide arc, resulting in a brief fly-by of the gas giant every couple of months. The original plan was for this to happen every two weeks, but some sticky valves put that idea to rest. Juno completed its fifth pass on March 27th, creating and streaming images back to Earth. And the processed full colour results are amazing.