Juno: An inside take a look at NASA's mission to Jupiter
Juno goes the place no spacecraft has been earlier than. Launched 5 years in the past, NASA’s photo voltaic-powered ship was despatched on a mission to review Jupiter, the most important fuel globe within the photo voltaic system. Now, after virtually a few thousand days on the right track, it will arrive at Jupiter on the night of July 4th to scan, measure, research and photograph the planet. On a current journey to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) headquarters in Pasadena, I caught up with lead challenge scientist Steve Levin for a rundown of the mission and the precise occasion that would probably uncover the mysteries of all the photo voltaic system.
Within the occasion, formally often known as Jupiter Orbit Insertion (JOI), the eight,000-pound spacecraft will decelerate because it approaches the planet in order that it is pulled into its orbit. As soon as inside, it should begin circling Jupiter’s poles for perception into the composition of the planet and its magnetic fields. The tough maneuver will deliver Juno near about three,one hundred miles above the clouds, making it the ship that will get the rarest up, shut and private take a look at the huge planet.
Juno being constructed at Lockheed Martin in 2011. Photograph credit score: Andy Cross by way of Getty Photographs.
On the surface, the spaceship, constructed by Lockheed Martin, has a fan-like look with three photo voltaic panel extensions protruding from its important physique. Inside, it is loaded with gadgetry for the scientific mission. There is a Gravity Science instrument that may map the planet’s gravity and magnetic fields. The Microwave Radiometer will verify on how a lot water is on the planet. There’s additionally a JunoCam to photograph the planet.
The knowledge from the devices will assist scientists find out how the huge planet was shaped. Does it have the identical composition because the solar? Or is it made up of huge chunks of ice? Firing up the sensors at a deliberate exact second will reveal the solutions subsequent month.