Jupiter’s “Strange, Alien World Close Up” –Inside NASA’s Juno Mission (WATCH Today’s ‘Galaxy’ Stream)

 

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Jupiter is a strange, alien world of Mars-sized polar cyclones, colossal swirling storm systems that travel deep into the heart of the gas giant, and a gigantic magnetic field that may indicate it was generated closer to the planet’s surface than previously thought.


“Every 53 days, we go screaming by Jupiter, get doused by a fire hose of Jovian science, and there is always something new,” said Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton from the Southwest Research Institute. “On our next flyby on July 11, we will fly directly over one of the most iconic features in the entire solar system — one that every school kid knows — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. If anybody is going to get to the bottom of what is going on below those mammoth swirling crimson cloud tops, it’s Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments.”

Juno is in a polar orbit around Jupiter, and the majority of each orbit is spent well away from the gas giant. But, once every 53 days, its trajectory approaches Jupiter from above its north pole, where it begins a two-hour transit (from pole to pole) flying north to south with its eight science instruments collecting data and its JunoCam public outreach camera snapping pictures. The download of six megabytes of data collected during the transit can take 1.5 days.

After an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn. Confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 8:53 pm. PDT (11:53 p.m. EDT) Monday, July 4, 2016.

 

Secrets lie deep within Jupiter, shrouded in the solar system’s strongest magnetic field and most lethal radiation belts. On July 4, 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft  plunged into uncharted territory, entering orbit around the gas giant and passing closer than any spacecraft before. 

 

Scientists from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter discussed their first amazing science results in a media teleconference on May 25, 2017, at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT, 1800 UTC).

 

 

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