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NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft has accomplished a close flyby over Jupiter's churning atmosphere, successfully completing its tenth science orbit of the gas giant planet, the US space agency said. All of Juno's science instruments and the spacecraft's JunoCam were in operation during the flyby on February 7, collecting data that is now being returned to Earth, NASA said. At the time of perijove - the point in Juno's orbit when it is closest to the planet's centre - the spacecraft will be about 3,500 kilometres above the planet's cloud tops. This flyby was a gravity science orientation pass, the US space agency said. Juno launched on August 5, 2011 and arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet's cloud tops - as close as about 3,400 kilometres. During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. In the orbits that highlight gravity experiments, Juno is in an Earth-pointed orientation that allows its transmitter to downlink data in real-time to one of the antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network in Goldstone, California.
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