Spacecraft Juno to Study Jupiter

obeygiant

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NASA is celebrating Independence Day this year by putting a spacecraft into orbit around Jupiter. The space agency’s Juno mission is slated to arrive at the massive planet on the night of July 4th, after having traveled across more than 1.7 billion miles of space over the past five years. Once Juno arrives, the probe’s main engine will fire, slowing the spacecraft down and placing it into orbit around Jupiter. It’s an important event for the mission, especially since NASA has only one shot at getting it right. If Juno flies past Jupiter, the mission will be blown.

JUNO WILL EVENTUALLY FLY CLOSER TO THE GAS GIANT THAN ANY OTHER SPACECRAFT BEFORE

If all goes as planned, Juno will eventually fly closer to the gas giant than any other spacecraft before, allowing NASA to figure out what’s going on underneath all of Jupiter’s thick clouds. "We have sent spacecraft to the Jovian system before, but they all kept their distance from Jupiter," Steve Levin, a Juno project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told The Verge. "[Juno’s] orbit actually enables a lot. It’s a key part of doing the science we want to do."

That science involves studying the amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere, as well as mapping the planet’s huge magnetic field. Juno will also study Jupiter’s gravity to figure out if a dense core lurks deep underneath. All of that information will help NASA deconstruct the origins and history of the solar system’s largest planet. Scientists have a lot of theories about how Jupiter formed and how it got into its current orbit, but Juno’s data will help researchers strengthen our understanding of where Jupiter came from. And that will ultimately tell us how the rest of the planets formed—including our own.


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NASA’s Juno spacecraft has officially crossed the barrier over into Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the powerful magnetic field that extends millions of miles around the planet. Within this magnetosphere, particles move based on what’s going on inside Jupiter. NASA believes Juno entered this region of space between June 24th and 25th. Now, the vehicle is continuing even further into the field and is slated to arrive at Jupiter on July 4th, when it will insert itself into the planet’s orbit. It will allow the spacecraft to study the gas giant in more detail than ever before.

JUPITER'S MAGNETIC FIELD IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE LARGEST STRUCTURE IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

Jupiter's magnetic field, which is about 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field, is considered to be the largest structure in our Solar System. "If Jupiter's magnetosphere glowed in visible light, it would be twice the size of the full Moon as seen from Earth," said William Kurth lead co-investigator for Juno’s Waves investigation. The magnetosphere is constantly being bombarded by charged particles streaming from the Sun, called solar wind. Some of these charged particles get trapped inside the magnetosphere, as well as particles coming from Jupiter’s volcanically active moon Io. The result: parts of the magnetosphere are a radioactive hell scape that can potentially fry any electronics that venture deep inside. But on the bright side, the field is also great for making some stunning aurorae!


Launched August 5, 2011

Can't wait to see what secrets will be revealed.

Juno Spacecraft and functions
 

obeygiant

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Hopefully the orbital insertion burn will be successful. This should be very interesting to watch.


Juno will be traveling at more than 40 miles per second when it reaches Jupiter on the Fourth. At that point, the spacecraft’s main engine will burn for about 35 minutes — long enough to slow the vehicle down by 1,200 miles per hour and allow it to be captured by Jupiter’s gravitational pull. This will put Juno into an initial orbit that lasts 53 days.

NASA will receive confirmation that Juno’s engine has started burning at 11:18PM ET on July 4th, and then know if the burn has been successful just before midnight. Juno won’t do much science during its initial 53-day orbit, but at the end of its first loop on August 27th, Juno will make its close approach to Jupiter and get its first good look at the planet with all of its instruments on. That’s also when the first close-up pictures will be taken from the probe’s onboard camera, JunoCam. After that, the spacecraft will make another 53-day orbit and conduct another Perijove pass starting on October 19th. That same day the spacecraft’s engine will burn again, helping to place the probe into a shorter two-week orbit. Overall, Juno will complete 32 orbits around Jupiter before its mission is over.
 

grahamperrin

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… celebrating Independence Day this year …
It's also, if you like, a centenary of The Planets – the suite composed between 1914 (Venus, Mars, Jupiter) and 1916.

Gustav Holst, an Englishman with Swedish, Latvian and German ancestry; and https://twitter.com/grahamperrin/status/749016498019139584 a much stranger ancestry in the mythology of Juno, the daughter of Saturn. The older I grow, the more I'm fascinated by history …

… and by science. From things such as this, in the decade of my birth (Timothy's Space Book is etched into my memory) –



– to 'modern' science, and its promise to send something into orbit around Jupiter, to help earthlings understand how planets are formed.

Imagining the vastness of Jupiter and its magnetic field, I like to imagine each nation on Earth as no more than a grain of sand. And fifty years from now, I don't expect to be alive but I wonder whether our current understanding of things will be viewed as antiquated …
 

decafjava

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Awesome!!! I like reading good news - especially pushing back frontiers and shedding some light!
 

obeygiant

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This Saturday at 5:51 a.m. PDT, (8:51 a.m. EDT, 12:51 UTC) NASA's Juno spacecraft will get closer to the cloud tops of Jupiter than at any other time during its prime mission. At the moment of closest approach, Juno will be about 2,500 miles (4,200 kilometers) above Jupiter's swirling clouds and traveling at 130,000 mph (208,000 kilometers per hour) with respect to the planet. There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter scheduled during its prime mission (scheduled to end in February of 2018). The Aug. 27 flyby will be the first time Juno will have its entire suite of science instruments activated and looking at the giant planet as the spacecraft zooms past.

"This is the first time we will be close to Jupiter since we entered orbit on July 4," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Back then we turned all our instruments off to focus on the rocket burn to get Juno into orbit around Jupiter. Since then, we have checked Juno from stem to stern and back again. We still have more testing to do, but we are confident that everything is working great, so for this upcoming flyby Juno's eyes and ears, our science instruments, will all be open."

"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," Bolton said.

While the science data from the pass should be downlinked to Earth within days, interpretation and first results are not expected for some time.

"No other spacecraft has ever orbited Jupiter this closely, or over the poles in this fashion," said Steve Levin, Juno project scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "This is our first opportunity and there are bound to be surprises. We need to take our time to make sure our conclusions are correct."

Not only will Juno's suite of eight science instruments be on, the spacecraft's visible light imager -- JunoCam will also be snapping some closeups. A handful of JunoCam images, including the highest resolution imagery of the Jovian atmosphere and the first glimpse of Jupiter's north and south poles, are expected to be released during the later part of next week.
130,000 mph is hard to imagine!
 

SandboxGeneral

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130,000 mph is hard to imagine!
Indeed, however, the Juno spacecraft has actually slowed down now. During its approach to Jupiter it reached speeds of 165,000 mph breaking the long standing record for fastest human launched craft in space, held by Helios 1 & 2 launched in the 1970's to study the Sun and attained speeds of about 157,000 mph.

Very cool stuff!
 

JamesMike

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Indeed, however, the Juno spacecraft has actually slowed down now. During its approach to Jupiter it reached speeds of 165,000 mph breaking the long standing record for fastest human launched craft in space, held by Helios 1 & 2 launched in the 1970's to study the Sun and attained speeds of about 157,000 mph.

Very cool stuff!
That is moving along!
 
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SandboxGeneral

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That is moving along!
Yes it sure is.

I can't help to think about that speed on a cosmic scale. In that light it may as well not even be moving at all. Even Voyager 1 at a much slower speed, 38,000 mph, has taken 40 years to reach the edge of the solar system.

However at the cosmic speed limit, 186,000 mps, that is even grotesquely inadequate to really get anywhere significant. Space is as we know, obviously, freaking huge, and if I have one regret, it's that I can't travel around the galaxy like in Star Trek, let alone the enormous universe.

But yes, speed being relative, 130,000 mph that Juno is traveling is very impressive.
 

bradl

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Juno will be traveling at more than 40 miles per second when it reaches Jupiter on the Fourth. At that point, the spacecraft’s main engine will burn for about 35 minutes — long enough to slow the vehicle down by 1,200 miles per hour and allow it to be captured by Jupiter’s gravitational pull. This will put Juno into an initial orbit that lasts 53 days.

NASA will receive confirmation that Juno’s engine has started burning at 11:18PM ET on July 4th, and then know if the burn has been successful just before midnight. Juno won’t do much science during its initial 53-day orbit, but at the end of its first loop on August 27th, Juno will make its close approach to Jupiter and get its first good look at the planet with all of its instruments on. That’s also when the first close-up pictures will be taken from the probe’s onboard camera, JunoCam. After that, the spacecraft will make another 53-day orbit and conduct another Perijove pass starting on October 19th. That same day the spacecraft’s engine will burn again, helping to place the probe into a shorter two-week orbit. Overall, Juno will complete 32 orbits around Jupiter before its mission is over.
What is catching my attention on this orbit is this.

For as much of an elliptical orbit as that would be around Jupiter, I find it very fascinating that in keeping that orbit throughout the mission how hard it must be to not hit any of the moons Jupiter has. Last count, there were 67 - 72 with more still being discovered. To avoid those while trying to reduce its speed is a minor, albeit very exciting and fascinating feat.

BL.
 

SandboxGeneral

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What is catching my attention on this orbit is this.

For as much of an elliptical orbit as that would be around Jupiter, I find it very fascinating that in keeping that orbit throughout the mission how hard it must be to not hit any of the moons Jupiter has. Last count, there were 67 - 72 with more still being discovered. To avoid those while trying to reduce its speed is a minor, albeit very exciting and fascinating feat.

BL.
I actually have doubts that it would be so difficult for NASA to avoid the many moons around the great planet. I've seen many scientists talk about massive galaxies colliding and that the odds of even a few stars or exoplanets hitting one another or even being affected by their gravitates is very slim.

The space around Jupiter and in between the planet and the moons is still quite vast and Juno is a spec of dust in comparison. Without any knowledge of their orbital planning details, I personally assume that they probably looked at their orbital path and cross referenced it with some of the larger moons, or maybe all of the known ones to be safe, but I doubt they really worried about it.

Or, I could be way off on that...
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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For as much of an elliptical orbit as that would be around Jupiter, I find it very fascinating that in keeping that orbit throughout the mission how hard it must be to not hit any of the moons Jupiter has. Last count, there were 67 - 72 with more still being discovered. To avoid those while trying to reduce its speed is a minor, albeit very exciting and fascinating feat.
I think you don't really understand how big space is. The chance of hitting a moon, even if they just shot blank at Jupiter, is close to zero. And given that the orbits of all moons is well known, hitting the planet without hitting a moon is as easy as ordering a pizza (Now, pizza delivery time is a bit faster of course.. :p ).
 

obeygiant

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As NASA's Juno spacecraft flew through the narrow gap between Jupiter's radiation belts and the planet during its first science flyby, Perijove 1, on August 27, 2016, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU-1) star camera collected the first image of Jupiter's ring taken from the inside looking out. The bright bands in the center of the image are the main ring of Jupiter's ring system.

While taking the ring image, the SRU was viewing the constellation Orion. The bright star above the main ring is Betelgeuse, and Orion's belt can be seen in the lower right. Juno's Radiation Monitoring Investigation actively retrieves and analyzes the noise signatures from penetrating radiation in the images of the spacecraft's star cameras and science instruments at Jupiter.



I'm amazed looking at my favorite constellation, Orion, from within the rings of Jupiter.
 
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Scepticalscribe

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@obeygiant: Fantastic thread and thank you for starting it and sharing this material with us. Awesome, just awesome.

It's also, if you like, a centenary of The Planets – the suite composed between 1914 (Venus, Mars, Jupiter) and 1916.

Gustav Holst, an Englishman with Swedish, Latvian and German ancestry; and https://twitter.com/grahamperrin/status/749016498019139584 a much stranger ancestry in the mythology of Juno, the daughter of Saturn. The older I grow, the more I'm fascinated by history …

… and by science. From things such as this, in the decade of my birth (Timothy's Space Book is etched into my memory) –



– to 'modern' science, and its promise to send something into orbit around Jupiter, to help earthlings understand how planets are formed.

Imagining the vastness of Jupiter and its magnetic field, I like to imagine each nation on Earth as no more than a grain of sand. And fifty years from now, I don't expect to be alive but I wonder whether our current understanding of things will be viewed as antiquated …
Actually, @grahamperrin, I also had Timothy's Space Book as a child and recall reading it, spellbound and utterly rapt.
 
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obeygiant

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Juno to pass the Great Red Spot today...

Just days after celebrating its first anniversary in Jupiter orbit, NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter's Great Red Spot, the gas giant's iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm.

This will be humanity's first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature -- a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

"Jupiter's mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "This monumental storm has raged on the solar system's biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special."

The data collection of the Great Red Spot is part of Juno's sixth science flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops. Perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter's center) will be on Monday, July 10, at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno will have covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers) and will be directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the Giant Red Spot clouds. All eight of the spacecraft's instruments as well as its imager, JunoCam, will be on during the flyby.​
 
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obeygiant

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Measuring in at 10,159 miles (16,350 kilometers) in width (as of April 3, 2017) Jupiter's Great Red Spot is 1.3 times as wide as Earth. The storm has been monitored since 1830 and has possibly existed for more than 350 years. In modern times, the Great Red Spot has appeared to be shrinking.

All of Juno's science instruments and the spacecraft's JunoCam were operating during the flyby, collecting data that are now being returned to Earth. Juno's next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on Sept. 1.

Juno reached perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter's center) on July 10 at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno was about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno had covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers), and was passing directly above the coiling, crimson cloud tops of the Great Red Spot. The spacecraft passed about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the clouds of this iconic feature.

 
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