NASA's Juno spacecraft is currently traipsing around Jupiter, but it has no plans to pull a Cassini and dive into the planet's massive Great Red Spot storm. For that, we need to turn to a fascinating computer-animated video that uses NASA data to imagine what it would be like to soar through Jupiter's raucous atmosphere.
The video, released Monday, takes us on a dramatic simulated journey over and through Jupiter's swirling clouds and back up through the Great Red Spot. Gauges display the altitude and temperature, which increases with the plunge. A spacey soundtrack adds to the sci-fi feel.
Information collected during a Juno flyby over the oval storm in July seems to show the spot extends far below the cloud tops. "Juno data indicate that the solar system's most famous storm is almost one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles (300 kilometers) into the planet's atmosphere," says Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton.
NASA says the Great Red Spot may have been in existence for over 350 years, but it seems to be shrinking in recent years. Juno will continue to keep an eye on happenings at the planet as it continues its scientific investigations.