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NASA: Juno Probe Set to Perform 5th Jupiter Flyby on Monday

Mar 27, 2017 11:56 AM EDT

Juno probe in Jupiter is relatively young compared to other NASA missions in space. It has already performed four flybys but it's just getting started. Juno is set to approach Jupiter again for the fifth time. The flyby is scheduled for March 27, less than nine months after the spacecraft entered the gas planet's orbit.

The spacecraft will approach Jupiter at 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) on top of the planet's clouds at 4:52 a.m. on Monday morning. Juno is expected to collect new scientific data during the flyby.

Aboard Juno are various instruments that will allow the NASA spacecraft to gather images and other vital information about Jupiter during the course of the flyby. The new data will help explain other features of the planet that have been formerly observed. Former data shows that Jupiter's visible belts and zone stretch into the planet's interiors. Older Jupiter data also points to the fact that the planet's magnetic field is highly intricate, according to a report.

"This will be our fourth science pass -- the fifth close flyby of Jupiter of the mission -- and we are excited to see what new discoveries Juno will reveal," Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said in a press release. "Every time we get near Jupiter's cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet."

Despite the fact that scientists are still analyzing the data gathered from the previous flybys of Juno, they were able to ascertain that the planet's incandescent auroras were produced by energetic particles that also suggest a complicated current system involving Jupiter's moon, Io.

Peer-reviewed scientific findings based on Juno's flybys might be released in the coming months. The Juno probe was launched in 2011 and had conquered Jupiter's orbit in 2016.

Surprisingly, though, the spacecraft's camera called the JunoCam is not part of the spacecraft scientific payload. This means that there are more enhanced equipment being used to gather information.

A report says that the JunoCam was placed in order to take the public along with the journey by providing compelling images from the mission.

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