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NASA: Juno spacecraft completes first pass around Jupiter

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Posted at 3:32 PM, Aug 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-27 18:32:24-04

A NASA spacecraft has completed the first of three dozen passes close to the planet Jupiter.

The craft, named Juno, entered Jupiter's orbit over the Fourth of July weekend. Early Saturday morning, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Juno passed roughly 2,600 miles above the clouds swirling around the solar system's largest planet.

Saturday's pass was the first time the probe's science instruments were fully active, and researchers have already started receiving data from the flyby, officials said in a news release.

Juno's mission is to collect information that provides insights into how Jupiter formed, if there is a solid core at the heart of the gas giant, map the planet's magnetic field and measure water and ammonia levels within the atmosphere.

Juno will orbit Jupiter another 35 times before its mission is scheduled to end in February 2018.