Why Machinists Union Members are to Thank for the Closest-Ever Images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a swirling gas storm more than double the size of Earth, is getting a close up. The mesmerizing photos being taken from just above the planet’s surface are due in large part to the skill of Machinists Union members.

IAM members built and launched Juno, a spacecraft now orbiting our solar system’s largest gas giant. Juno passed over the giant storm this week as it continued a series of close passes around the gaseous world more than 365 million miles away.

The photos are breathtaking—and we have fellow Machinists Union members to thank.

Juno was built by IAM Local 44 members at Lockheed Martin in Decatur, AL and launched, in 2011, by IAM Local 610 members at United Launch Alliance in Cape Canaveral, FL.

NASA scientists hope the Juno mission will answer long unanswered questions about the mysterious gas giant, including why its Great Red Spot appears to be shrinking.

See more images and follow Juno’s historic journey.

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