NASA’s Juno spacecraft has performed over two-dozen flybys of Jupiter and its largest moon, Ganymede, and now you can watch it from a “starship captain” point of view.
Juno performed the closest flyby of Ganymede that’s happened in more than two decades on June 7. Less than a day later, it performed its 34th flyby of Jupiter. It flew from one of the planet’s poles to the other and it did so in less than three hours, and you can watch that flyby from a “starship captain” point of view below.
Now, the video is quite breathtaking but it’s important to note that it’s actually a collection of images taken by Juno’s probe camera spliced together with synthetic frames to create the video you see above.
“The animation shows just how beautiful deep space exploration can be,” Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonia, Scott Bolton, 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.”
NASA says its three-and-a-half minute video 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).” When viewing the animation, you’ll notice some darker regions and NASA says those are believed to be the result of “ice sublimating into the surrounding vacuum, leaving behind darkened residue.”
NASA Black Hole Gallery
You can also see the Tros crater, which is Ganymede’s largest and brightest crater scar.
“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,” NASA says. “By that point, Jupiter’s powerful gravity has accelerated the spacecraft to almost 130,000 mph (210,000 kph) relative to the planet.”
According to NASA, the video showcases Jupiter’s circumpolar cyclones at the north pole and five of its “string of pearls,” which are eight large storms that appear as white ovals and rotate counterclockwise in the planet’s southern hemisphere.
For more about Jupiter, check out this story about a metallic asteroid flying somewhere between Mars and Jupiter that has an estimated worth of $10,000 quadrillion (don’t worry — that number hurts our brain too) and then check out these beautiful close-up photos of Jupiter revealed by NASA back in 2018.