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NASA’s Juno spacecraft completes fourth flyby of Jupiter

NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft completed closest flyby of Jupiter mysterious cloud tops for the fourth time. All eight of Juno’s science instruments were switched on during the flyby.

During its closest approach it was roughly 4,300 km above Jupiter’s cloud tops and travelled at a speed of about 208,000 kmph. Currently, Juno is locked in a 53-day orbit around Jupiter.

It is expected to perform three dozen flybys over the next one and a half years. During its flybys, Juno probes beneath the cloud cover of Jupiter and studies Jupiter’s auroras to learn more about its origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere

About Juno spacecraft

  • Juno was launched in August 2011 to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution. It’s the first solar power spacecraft to orbit Jupiter and second after Galileo.
  • The unmanned spacecraft had successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit in July 2016 after a five year journey and traversing distance of nearly 2 billion miles.
  • The primary goals of the mission are to find out whether Jupiter has a solid core, how its atmosphere and magnetosphere formed, and whether there is water in the gas cloud shrouding the planet.
  • The information gathered from it will provide vital clues to how the planet formed and evolved, but also to how the solar system we live in came into existence.
  • The spacecraft has been named after the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter who is considered as the god of the sky in ancient Greco-Roman mythology.

For more information: Juno Spacecraft

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NASA’s Juno probe completes first Jupiter flyby

NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft has successfully executed its first flyby of Jupiter, our solar system’s most massive planet.

During its first flyby, Juno passed just 4,200 kilometres above the planet’s clouds. It was the closest contact ever achieved by a man-made probe with Jupiter.

Key Facts

  • During this flyby, it was for the first time Juno had its entire suite of science instruments activated.
  • During this closest approach, Juno passed about 4,200 kilometres above Jupiter’s clouds and travelled at speed of 208,000 kilometres per hour with respect to the planet.
  • There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter planned during Juno’s mission scheduled to end in February 2018.

About Juno spacecraft

  • The unmanned Juno spacecraft launched on August 5, 2011, from Florida, US. It had arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
  • Juno is the first solar-powered mission designed by NASA to see beneath Jupiter’s clouds. It had travelled 2.7 billion kilometres since its launch to reach Jupiter.
  • It has nine instruments on board to study atmosphere, gravity, magnetic field and possible existence of solid core in Jupiter.
  • Juno will also map Jupiter’s gravity and magnetic fields and also track how much water is present in the atmosphere.
  • It will have mission life of 20 months from July 2016 to Feb 2018. In its mission life, the spacecraft will circle the Jupiter 37 times before finally making a death plunge in 2018 in order to avoid accidentally crashing onto one of the planet’s moons.

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully begins orbit of Jupiter

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has successfully entered into the orbit of Jupiter on 4th July 2016 and started orbiting solar system’s most massive planet.

The spacecraft was launched by NASA as part of its New Frontiers program in 2011 to study Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.

About Juno spacecraft

  • The unmanned spacecraft has been named after the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter who is considered as the god of the sky in ancient Greco-Roman mythology.
  • Juno is the first mission designed by NASA to see beneath Jupiter’s clouds. It has travelled 2.7 billion kilometres since its launch to reach Jupiter.
  • The mission previously was been referred to by the backronym JUpiter Near-polar Orbiter.
  • Orbit: It will orbit Jupiter from pole to pole, 5,000 kilometres above planet’s cloud tops.
  • It will sample Jupiter’s charged particles and magnetic fields for the first time to study its composition beneath the sky.
  • Payloads: Juno has nine instruments on board to study atmosphere, gravity, magnetic field and possible existence of solid core in Jupiter.
  • Juno will map Jupiter’s gravity and magnetic fields and also track how much water is present in the atmosphere.
  • Mission Life: Juno will have mission life of 20 months from July 2016 to Feb 2018. In its mission life, the spacecraft will circle the Jupiter 37 times before finally making a death plunge in 2018 in order to avoid accidentally crashing onto one of the planet’s moons.

Special Note:  Juno is not the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. It is second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after Galileo probe which had orbited the planet from 1995–2003. Galileo probe in its mission had found evidence of subsurface saltwater on Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

Facts about Jupiter 

  • Jupiter is solar system’s most massive planet and is fifth from the sun after Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
  • It is known for its Great Red Spot because of a storm (bigger than size of Earth) that has been raging for hundreds of years.
  • Diameter: 142000km (11times size of earth)
  • Composition: Hydrogen (90%) and Helium (10%).
  • Known moons:
  • Length of day: 10 hours.
  • Average temperature: -145 degree Celsius.
  • Volume: 1329 Earths could fit inside Jupiter.

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