NASA has released a gorgeous video showing a flyby of Jupiter set to a Vangelis soundtrack.
The footage uses images captured last month by NASA’s Juno satellite. The beautiful sequence begins with a flyby of ice-encrusted Ganymede — one of Jupiter’s many moons and the largest in our solar system — before moving on to Jupiter.
The images of Ganymede were captured during Juno’s closest flyby of the moon in more than two decades. Less than a day later, the spacecraft made its 34th flyby of Jupiter since reaching the planet in 2016, “racing over its roiling atmosphere from pole to pole in less than three hours,” NASA said.
The video above was actually constructed using pictures captured by the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager, allowing the creators to produce what NASA describes as a “starship captain” point of view of each flyby.
The space agency explains that to create the animation, Juno’s images were “orthographically projected onto a digital sphere, and synthetic frames were added between actual images to make the motion appear smoother and provide views of approach and departure for both Ganymede and Jupiter.”
We’re sure you’ll agree, the result is absolutely stunning.
Scott Bolton, principal investigator for Juno at the Southwest Research Institute, certainly thinks so, saying the video “shows just how beautiful deep space exploration can be.”
Bolton said the animation lets space fans “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.”
He added, “Today, as we approach the exciting prospect of humans being able to visit space in orbit around Earth, this propels our imagination decades into the future when humans will be visiting the alien worlds in our solar system.”
In January NASA extended Juno’s mission to September 2025, giving it more time to explore its surroundings some 390 million miles (about 630 million km) from Earth. The spacecraft’s next adventure of note is scheduled for 2022 when it will fly past Europa, another of Jupiter’s moons.
If you enjoyed the flyby of Ganymede and Jupiter, then we recommend you also check out this beautiful piece by space enthusiast Seán Doran showing a flyover of Earth’s moon.