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Juno spacecraft to reach Jupiter next year


Posted on Sunday, 19 July, 2015 | Comment icon 8 comments

An artist's impression of the Juno probe at Jupiter. Image Credit: NASA / JPL
NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft will be arriving in orbit around Jupiter in around 12 months' time.
Launched in 2011 as part of NASA's ongoing New Frontiers program, Juno will be attempting to map the gas giant's gravitational and magnetic fields while also taking the first ever close-up pictures of Jupiter's polar regions.

Scientists are hopeful that its findings will help them to learn more about Jupiter's internal structure and evolutionary history as well as whether or not it possesses a solid core.

"We're already more than 90 percent of the way to Jupiter, in terms of total distance traveled," said mission principal investigator Scott Bolton. "With a year to go, we're looking carefully at our plans to make sure we're ready to make the most of our time once we arrive."

Once it reaches its destination the probe will be entering in to an elliptical orbit that will at times take it within only a few thousand miles of the planet's outermost cloud layer.

"We have models that tell us what to expect, but the fact is that Juno is going to be immersed in a strong and variable magnetic field and hazardous radiation, and it will get closer to the planet than any previous orbiting spacecraft," said Bolton.

"Juno's experience could be different than what our models predict - that's part of what makes space exploration so exciting."

Source: Space.com | Comments (8)

Tags: Juno, Jupiter

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer on 20 July, 2015, 14:44
I wonder if the probe will get any info on any of the moons as well?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 July, 2015, 14:56
I wonder if the probe will get any info on any of the moons as well? Juno will orbit Jupiter in a highly elliptical polar orbit, not the best for observing the moons. However the Moons are not being neglected. ESA will be launching a mission called JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (Juice) to examine them and NASA is investigating a mission to Europa.
Comment icon #3 Posted by BeastieRunner on 20 July, 2015, 20:33
Since Pluto is surprising us on a constant basis, what if Jupiter has a solid core? What would that mean?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 July, 2015, 20:38
Since Pluto is surprising us on a constant basis, what if Jupiter has a solid core? What would that mean? It would mean that Jupiter is exactly as most astronomers expect it to be.
Comment icon #5 Posted by BeastieRunner on 21 July, 2015, 15:18
It would mean that Jupiter is exactly as most astronomers expect it to be. Thanks, I see. How about if it doesn't have a solid core? Would that turn some heads?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 July, 2015, 15:34
How about if it doesn't have a solid core? Would that turn some heads? Yes, because given the pressures at the centre of Jupiter that would be impossible.
Comment icon #7 Posted by psyche101 on 29 July, 2015, 4:55
Yes, because given the pressures at the centre of Jupiter that would be impossible. Really looking forward to this one, the core of Jupiter is truly fascinating, I have heard it might be a soup, or a rocky core 12-45 times earth's mass, but with the number of asteroids and comets hitting it, it seems "normal"if such a word applies, to have a solid mass at the centre. Way back when Shoemaker hit it, I wondered back then "where did Shoemaker go if there is no solid surface, did it disassemble?" Is Shoemaker Levy 9 now just gas? Such an amazing planet to view and learn about. Juno will give us fa... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Zalmoxis on 1 August, 2015, 17:35
I'm interested in seeing the great red spot up close before it entirely shrinks. With a closer view of Jupiter they'll probably learn some insightful things about the gasses that make it's visible area and how the belts interact with each other and more about alien weather.


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