NASA's Juno spacecraft buzzing by Jupiter's Great Red Spot
This April 3, 2017 file image made available by NASA shows the planet Jupiter when it was at a distance of about 668 million kilometers (415 million miles) from Earth. (NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (GSFC) via AP, File)
The Associated Press
Published Monday, July 10, 2017 3:58PM EDT
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's Juno spacecraft is about to give us our best look yet of Jupiter's swirling Great Red Spot.
The spacecraft flies directly above the monster storm Monday night, passing 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometres) above the cloud tops. That's close by space standards. Juno's instruments will peer through the clouds and help scientists determine how deep the storm is.
The Great Red Spot is so big that at 10,000 miles wide (16,000 kilometres), it could swallow Earth. It will take NASA a few days to get the close-up images. The team plans to release them Friday.
Juno went into orbit around Jupiter last July. It was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2011. Only one other spacecraft has circled our solar system's biggest planet: NASA's long-gone Galileo.