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By Andrew Follett

NASA released stunning images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Wednesday.

NASA’s Juno probe flew by the spot Monday, passing within 5,600 miles of the planets surface to photograph it up close. One of the more impressive shots showed The Great Red Spot, a storm that’s has raged for 350 years and is so large it could swallow Earth.

“This is a storm bigger than the entire Earth,” Dr. Steve Levin, a lead scientist on the Juno mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a press statement.”It’s been there for hundreds of years. We want to know what makes it tick.”

NASA released image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt

The images are humanity’s closest look ever at the Great Red Spot. NASA isn’t sure how the storm has kept raging for so long, but they think it is powered by energy leaking out of the planets interior that has been caught in its rotation.

Jupiter is a huge ball of gas, 11.2 times wider than Earth and 300 times more massive. The planet is 2.5 times more massive than all the rest of the planets in the solar system combined.

Juno’s mission is to understand how Jupiter formed and how it influenced the development of the rest of the solar system. The spacecraft will use nine different scientific instruments to investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic fields, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras.

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