Humans may visit Mars in the next century thanks to the intrepid Elon Musk. But getting up close to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system and multitudes further away than the Red Planet, is a job for only the best-equipped probes. (The furthest humans have been from Earth, up to this point, is behind our Earth’s moon.)
Which is why mathematician Gerald Eichstadt and artistic director Sean Doran spent dozens of hours stitching together footage from NASA’s Juno craft; now the average Earth-dweller can look on the face of the gas giant. The results are hauntingly beautiful.
Mesmerised? The “marbled” patterning is actually a combination of gaseous storms and clouds – pretty much expected features of a gas giant with a volatile atmosphere. They’re captured in such great detail thanks to how close Juno can get to the surface (4200km, so about 500 Mount Everests or 25,000 Singapore Flyers).
Don’t plan your space vacation just yet: the unmanned Juno took about five years to reach Jupiter’s orbit after its launch from Cape Canaveral, and that’s without all the extra mass of a human and the resources needed to sustain him or her. Perhaps in two or three centuries this will be the definition of “Instagram-worthy”.
More frames of Jupiter at Sean Doran’s Flickr album.