NASA’s Juno successfully completed its 34th flyby of Jupiter on June 7, 2021, while also flying closer by the ice-encrusted moon Ganymede than any spacecraft in more than two decades. So, the agency compiled the JunoCam images it captured into a breathtaking animation that provides a “starship captain” point of view of each flyby. These images were then orthographically projected onto a digital sphere and used to create the flyby animation.
The animation begins with Juno approaching Ganymede, passing within 645 miles of the surface at a relative velocity of 41,600 mph. Despite being a 3:30-minute-long clip, it took Juno takes 14 hours, 50 minutes for it to travel the 735,000 miles between Ganymede and Jupiter. As you view the animation, you’re transported to within just 2,100 miles above gas giant’s painting-like cloud tops.
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The animation shows just how beautiful deep space exploration can be. 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,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator for Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.