The JunoCam camera aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter is operational and sending back information, the space agency has announced.
NASA released an initial image of the giant planet and three of its moons taken from the craft, although high-resolution imaging is still weeks away.
Juno entered orbit around Jupiter on 4 July (5 July UTC). Its camera had been turned off to preserve power during the tricky orbit insertion.
“This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter’s extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
“We can’t wait to see the first view of Jupiter’s poles.”
The new view was obtained on 10 July 2016, at 5:30 UTC when the spacecraft was 4.3 million kilometres from Jupiter on the outbound leg of its initial 53.5-day capture orbit.
“JunoCam will continue to take images as we go around in this first orbit,” said Candy Hansen, Juno co-investigator from the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona.
“The first high-resolution images of the planet will be taken on 27 August when Juno makes its next close pass to Jupiter.”