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Spacecraft gets close-up look at Jupiter

dpa logodpa 27/08/2016

NASA says its Juno space probe will pass about 4200 kilometres above Jupiter's swirling clouds on Saturday.

The space probe Juno is set to fly closer to Jupiter than any other spacecraft has flown before, according to NASA.

Juno, which has been orbiting Jupiter since July 4, will pass about 4200 kilometres above Jupiter's swirling clouds on Saturday, the US space agency says.

The flyby, scheduled for 10.51pm AEST on Saturday, will bring the spacecraft closer to the planet than at any other time during its prime mission.

"This is our first opportunity to really take a close-up look at the king of our solar system and begin to figure out how he works," said Scott Bolton, head of NASA's Juno team.

It also will be the first time Juno will have its entire suite of science instruments activated and looking at the giant planet as it zooms past.

The spaceship will be travelling at 208,000 kilometres per hour with respect to the planet when it passes.

NASA said there would be 35 more close flybys of Jupiter during Juno's prime mission, which is scheduled to end in February 2018.

Juno blasted off on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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