NASA's Juno Mission

NASA's Juno Mission

News Analysis   /   NASA's Juno Mission

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Published on: February 04, 2023

Source: Indian Express

Context:

NASA reported a problem with the JunoCam imager on board the mission.

More than 214 photos from the spacecraft's most recent flyby of Jupiter are now useless as a result.

JUNO Spaceprobe

About

Juno is a NASA spacecraft orbiting the planet Jupiter.

Note: Juno is the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after the nuclear-powered Galileo orbiter, which orbited from 1995 to 2003.

Construction and operation

Juno Spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin and is operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Launch

The spacecraft was launched on, August 5, 2011 as part of the New Frontiers program.

Mandate

Juno entered a polar orbit of Jupiter on July 5, 2016, to begin a scientific investigation of the planet.

Science Objectives

  • Juno's mission is to measure
  • Jupiter's composition,
  • Gravitational field,
  • Magnetic field, and
  • Polar magnetosphere.

It will also search for clues about 

  1. How the planet formed,
  2. Whether it has a rocky core,
  3. The amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, Mass distribution, and Its deep winds, which can reach speeds up to 620 km/h (390 mph).
  4. Towards the end of its primary mission, the spacecraft’s objectives evolved, and it transitioned into a full Jupiter system explorer with flybys of Jovian moons. After sending back details about the Jovian moons Ganymede and Europa, the spacecraft is set to take pictures of Io, another Jovian moon.

Unique Features

  • Usually, radioisotope thermoelectric generators are commonly used for missions to the outer Solar System and beyond.
  • And Solar Panels are commonly used by satellites orbiting Earth and working in the inner Solar System.
  • But unlike all earlier spacecraft sent to the outer planets, Juno is powered by solar panels.
  • The three largest solar panel wings ever deployed on a planetary probe play an integral role in stabilizing the spacecraft as well as generating power.
  • After completing its mission, Juno will be intentionally deorbited into Jupiter's atmosphere.

The contribution made by Juno Spaceprobe till now:

Great Blue Spot

When the Juno team put together their map of the magnetic field, they discovered a dark spot of highly concentrated magnetism near the equator. It has been named as Great Blue Spot.

Storms of the Poles

Juno was able to get the first-ever look at Jupiter’s poles from above, finding they were swarmed by storms.

Jupiter has water

Juno found that Jupiter has three times more water than the Sun, putting to bed a decades-old mystery.

Jupiter's stripes and swirls are actually cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water, floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

Jupiter’s Aurora

The electrical field around Jupiter’s poles, which helps create the aurorae, is around 100 times more charged than Earth’s.

Jupiter’s Belts

The spacecraft was able to look deep down into the stripes of wind and cloud known as belts and zones. Near the equator the regions go down 3,000km, becoming shallower towards the poles before blending into the polar storms.

Significance of Juno Mission

The Juno spacecraft, is the first explorer to peer below the planet's dense clouds to answer questions about the gas giant itself and the origins of our solar system.

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