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The Official * Jupiter * Exploration Thread
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Antimatter Man
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
2011-08-05, 07:08

JUNO countdown to launch... blast off on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 4.34pm BST (11.34am local time)... about 3 and change hours from now

2013 Earth slingshot

2016 (July) Jupiter Arrival

20?? Monolith Discovery ??

After 33 orbits... Jupiter Impact

Cargo includes:

The plaque, which was provided by the Italian Space Agency, measures 2.8 by 2 inches (71 by 51 millimeters), is made of flight-grade aluminum and weighs six grams (0.2 ounces). It was bonded to Juno's propulsion bay with a spacecraft-grade epoxy. The graphic on the plaque depicts a self-portrait of Galileo. It also includes -- in Galileo's own hand -- a passage he made in 1610 of observations of Jupiter, archived in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence.

Galileo's text included on the plaque reads as follows: “On the 11th it was in this formation -- and the star closest to Jupiter was half the size than the other and very close to the other so that during the previous nights all of the three observed stars looked of the same dimension and among them equally afar; so that it is evident that around Jupiter there are three moving stars invisible till this time to everyone.”

In Greek and Roman mythology, Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief. From Mount Olympus, Juno was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter's true nature. Juno holds a magnifying glass to signify her search for the truth, while her husband holds a lightning bolt. The third LEGO crew member is Galileo Galilei, who made several important discoveries about Jupiter, including the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honor). Of course, the miniature Galileo has his telescope with him on the journey.
Quote: says:

Juno space probe prepares for a suicide mission to Jupiter
The spacecraft Juno is due to launch on Friday on a five-year mission to investigate Jupiter before plunging into the gas giant

A spacecraft destined to become the fastest manmade object in history is set for launch on Friday on a mission that will end in a high-speed crash into the largest planet in the solar system.

Nasa's $1bn Juno satellite is bound for Jupiter on a mission to peer through the clouds of the Jovian atmosphere and deep into the planet's interior.

The 3.5-tonne probe is due to blast off on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 4.34pm BST (11.34am local time) on a 2,800 million kilometre voyage that will take it far out into the solar system before looping back around the Earth in a slingshot manoeuvre that will hurl the spacecraft towards its target.

Before Juno arrives at its destination, rocket motors will fire up and set the satellite spinning like a three-bladed propeller so that each of its scientific instruments can get a regular and clear view of the planet.

The five-year journey will bring Juno in over the north pole of Jupiter to begin the first of 33 orbits at speeds of up to 160,000kph. To minimise damage from Jupiter's intense radiation fields, the spacecraft will follow a highly elliptical orbit that goes far out into space before returning low over the north and south poles.

The spinning satellite will photograph Jupiter's spectacular aurora and map its intense magnetic and gravitational fields for a year in a bid to understand the planet's formation and the inner workings that make it one of the most extraordinary bodies in the solar system.

"Juno will help us understand how the solar system formed, and how all the planets formed, from the solar nebula some 4.5bn years ago," said Jack Connerney, deputy principal investigator on the Juno mission at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland.

"After the formation of the sun, the vast majority of mass left over in the solar system resides in Jupiter. The planet is so massive that none of the material that was originally there could escape its gravity, so Jupiter is effectively a sample of the primitive solar nebula that all the planets formed from."

A major question Juno will seek to answer is the nature of the dynamo that generates Jupiter's powerful magnetic field, which is 20,000 times stronger than that of the Earth. On our home planet, the magnetic field is produced by a spinning core of molten iron.

"Jupiter's magnetic field may be generated by the layer of liquid metallic hydrogen in the planet's interior, but another school of thought says it may be generated from a layer of molecular hydrogen above that. With a good map of the magnetic field, we should be able to tell which it is," Connerney told the Guardian.

Other instruments aboard Juno will compile detailed maps of Jupiter's gravitational field to reveal how heavier elements are distributed throughout the planet, and confirm whether or not it has a sold rocky core.

Stowed away on the spacecraft will be a plaque dedicated to Galileo Galilei, who discovered moons in orbit around Jupiter in 1610, and three Lego figures – of Galileo, the Roman god Jupiter and his wife, Juno.

The electronics aboard Juno are encased in a titanium vault designed to protect components from high levels of radiation, but even with this shielding, the spacecraft is expected to sustain serious damage after a year in Jupiter's orbit. Any loss of control of Juno could leave the spacecraft in danger of crashing into Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, where future missions may look for signs of extraterrestrial life, so Nasa controllers have developed a final act for the mission.

"You hear of Nasa missions that go on and on, but to be sure we don't contaminate the surface of Europa, we are going to send Juno crashing into Jupiter," Connerney said. "I think we will communicate with Juno until the last moment."

... continues ...
Official NASA homepage is here

Mission site (with groovy Flash intro) here


All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2011-08-05 at 07:18.
Antimatter Man
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
2011-08-05, 10:57

T-4 and holding while resolving a helium vent valve issue on the ground side.

Still expected to launch in the next half hour (issues resolved but final checks still underway).

edit: Launch now reset for 16:25 Zulu... (12:25 Eastern... about 15 minutes from now)

Live on NASA TV, of course.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2011-08-05 at 11:10. Reason: New Launch time
The Ban Hammer
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
2011-08-05, 11:16

"…five year mission…"

Sounds familiar.
Antimatter Man
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
2011-08-05, 11:42

Launch success!

Centaur stage still has an additional burn to go, but everything tickety boo so far.
Antimatter Man
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
2017-05-27, 11:20

JUNO completes its Fifth Science pass and sends back amazing sequence of images, including some never before seen shots of the poles of Jupiter.

This sequence of enhanced-color images shows how quickly the viewing geometry changes for NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it swoops by Jupiter. The images were obtained by JunoCam.

Once every 53 days the Juno spacecraft swings close to Jupiter, speeding over its clouds. In just two hours, the spacecraft travels from a perch over Jupiter’s north pole through its closest approach (perijove), then passes over the south pole on its way back out. This sequence shows 14 enhanced-color images.

The first image on the left shows the entire half-lit globe of Jupiter, with the north pole approximately in the center. As the spacecraft gets closer to Jupiter, the horizon moves in and the range of visible latitudes shrinks. The third and fourth images in this sequence show the north polar region rotating away from our view while a band of wavy clouds at northern mid-latitudes comes into view. By the fifth image of the sequence the band of turbulent clouds is nicely centered in the image. The seventh and eighth images were taken just before the spacecraft was at its closest point to Jupiter, near Jupiter’s equator. Even though these two pictures were taken just four minutes apart, the view is changing quickly.

As the spacecraft crossed into the southern hemisphere, the bright “south tropical zone” dominates the ninth, 10th and 11th images. The white ovals in a feature nicknamed Jupiter’s “String of Pearls” are visible in the 12th and 13th images. In the 14th image Juno views Jupiter’s south poles.

Image Credit: NASA/SWRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran
They've been combined to form a spectacular video on this Vimeo page, this Flickr page or this YouTube page:

Apologies for humongous images...

This image shows Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers). The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter. Multiple images taken with the JunoCam instrument on three separate orbits were combined to show all areas in daylight, enhanced color, and stereographic projection.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

Early science results from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter portray the largest planet in our solar system as a complex, gigantic, turbulent world, with Earth-sized polar cyclones, plunging storm systems that travel deep into the heart of the gas giant, and a mammoth, lumpy magnetic field that may indicate it was generated closer to the planet’s surface than previously thought.

“We are excited to share these early discoveries, which help us better understand what makes Jupiter so fascinating,” said Diane Brown, Juno program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "It was a long trip to get to Jupiter, but these first results already demonstrate it was well worth the journey.”

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, entering Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. The findings from the first data-collection pass, which flew within about 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) of Jupiter's swirling cloud tops on Aug. 27, are being published this week in two papers in the journal Science, as well as 44 papers in Geophysical Research Letters.

“We knew, going in, that Jupiter would throw us some curves,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “But now that we are here we are finding that Jupiter can throw the heat, as well as knuckleballs and sliders. There is so much going on here that we didn’t expect that we have had to take a step back and begin to rethink of this as a whole new Jupiter.”

Among the findings that challenge assumptions are those provided by Juno’s imager, JunoCam. The images show both of Jupiter's poles are covered in Earth-sized swirling storms that are densely clustered and rubbing together.

“We're puzzled as to how they could be formed, how stable the configuration is, and why Jupiter’s north pole doesn't look like the south pole,” said Bolton. “We're questioning whether this is a dynamic system, and are we seeing just one stage, and over the next year, we're going to watch it disappear, or is this a stable configuration and these storms are circulating around one another?”

Another surprise comes from Juno’s Microwave Radiometer (MWR), which samples the thermal microwave radiation from Jupiter’s atmosphere, from the top of the ammonia clouds to deep within its atmosphere. The MWR data indicates that Jupiter’s iconic belts and zones are mysterious, with the belt near the equator penetrating all the way down, while the belts and zones at other latitudes seem to evolve to other structures. The data suggest the ammonia is quite variable and continues to increase as far down as we can see with MWR, which is a few hundred miles or kilometers.

Prior to the Juno mission, it was known that Jupiter had the most intense magnetic field in the solar system. Measurements of the massive planet’s magnetosphere, from Juno’s magnetometer investigation (MAG), indicate that Jupiter’s magnetic field is even stronger than models expected, and more irregular in shape. MAG data indicates the magnetic field greatly exceeded expectations at 7.766 Gauss, about 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth.

“Juno is giving us a view of the magnetic field close to Jupiter that we’ve never had before,” said Jack Connerney, Juno deputy principal investigator and the lead for the mission’s magnetic field investigation at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Already we see that the magnetic field looks lumpy: it is stronger in some places and weaker in others. This uneven distribution suggests that the field might be generated by dynamo action closer to the surface, above the layer of metallic hydrogen. Every flyby we execute gets us closer to determining where and how Jupiter’s dynamo works.”

Juno also is designed to study the polar magnetosphere and the origin of Jupiter's powerful auroras—its northern and southern lights. These auroral emissions are caused by particles that pick up energy, slamming into atmospheric molecules. Juno’s initial observations indicate that the process seems to work differently at Jupiter than at Earth.

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.

“Every 53 days, we go screaming by Jupiter, get doused by a fire hose of Jovian science, and there is always something new,” said Bolton. “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.”

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for NASA. The principal investigator is Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, in Denver, built the spacecraft.

More information on the Juno mission is available at:

Follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:


This enhanced color view of Jupiter’s south pole was created by citizen scientist Gabriel Fiset using data from the JunoCam instrument on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Oval storms dot the cloudscape. Approaching the pole, the organized turbulence of Jupiter’s belts and zones transitions into clusters of unorganized filamentary structures, streams of air that resemble giant tangled strings.

The image was taken on Dec. 11, 2016 at 9:44 a.m. PST (12:44 p.m. EST), from an altitude of about 32,400 miles (52,200 kilometers) above the planet’s beautiful cloud tops.

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at:

More information about Juno is at: and

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gabriel Fiset

... and all of this after only FIVE orbits (the default mission is designed to last 32 orbits for complete mapping over about 3 years).

Talk about bang for the buck.


All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2017-05-27 at 12:34.
Antimatter Man
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
2017-07-15, 08:31

JUNO Delivers 1st Close up pics of Great Red Spot

Great Red Spot [060] Detail NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran / 2017-07-12 18:36 UT
Click image to see processed image sources

Images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot reveal a tangle of dark, veinous clouds weaving their way through a massive crimson oval. The JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno mission snapped pics of the most iconic feature of the solar system’s largest planetary inhabitant during its Monday (July 10) flyby. The images of the Great Red Spot were downlinked from the spacecraft’s memory on Tuesday and placed on the mission’s JunoCam website Wednesday morning.

“For hundreds of years scientists have been observing, wondering and theorizing about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm. It will take us some time to analyze all the data from not only JunoCam, but Juno’s eight science instruments, to shed some new light on the past, present and future of the Great Red Spot.”

As planned by the Juno team, citizen scientists took the raw images of the flyby from the JunoCam site and processed them, providing a higher level of detail than available in their raw form. The citizen-scientist images, as well as the raw images they used for image processing, can be found at:

“I have been following the Juno mission since it launched,” said Jason Major, a JunoCam citizen scientist and a graphic designer from Warwick, Rhode Island. “It is always exciting to see these new raw images of Jupiter as they arrive. But it is even more thrilling to take the raw images and turn them into something that people can appreciate. That is what I live for.”

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.

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet's cloud tops -- as close as about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Early science results from NASA's Juno mission portray the largest planet in our solar system as a turbulent world, with an intriguingly complex interior structure, energetic polar aurora, and huge polar cyclones.

“These highly-anticipated images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot are the ‘perfect storm’ of art and science. With data from Voyager, Galileo, New Horizons, Hubble and now Juno, we have a better understanding of the composition and evolution of this iconic feature,” said Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science. “We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone.”

JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena. More information on the Juno mission is available at:

The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:

More information on the Great Red Spot can be found at:

More information on Jupiter can be found at:

For an alternative version, see APOD

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