The Status On Juno, the Space Probe

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The Juno space probe has been sent out to investigate many of Jupiter’s secrets. Juno was launched in August 2011 and has traveled halfway to its destination in Jupiter. Just recently, on October 9, 2013, Juno used Earth’s gravitational pull to slingshot itself towards Jupiter, raising its acceleration by 7.2 miles per second. Juno’s approximated arrival to Jupiter is 991 days as of October 17, 2013 according to NASA.gov.

Juno’s mission to Jupiter involves a lot of goals that the people at NASA hope to reach. Their main goal is to get some idea of Jupiter’s evolution and origin as a planet. They aim to research Jupiters atmosphere and find out exactly how much water, if any, is on Jupiter. NASA would like to get an accurate composition of the atmosphere and temperature. They will also research Jupiter’s magnetic field and inner structure of the planet. The magnetic poles and auroras will give us some idea of what it’s like on Jupiter by providing information on how the magnetic field affects the atmosphere.

By mapping Jupiter’s gravitational field, it will show the planets interior structure and measure the mass of the planets core. Juno is going so that it can show the fields and help identify the gases in the atmosphere. Also, it will get pictures of the landscape that we can’t see form telescopes because Jupiter is covered in thick clouds.

What does all of this mean for astronomers? They now might be able to see what kind of affect Jupiter has on other planets. They may even find some effect that Jupiter might has on Earth, although it is highly unlikely.

One unanswered question is if there is life on Jupiter. Juno will go to investigate and prove suspicions true or false. If there is a high enough percentage of methane gas and water then this is solid evidence of possible life that may have either been on Jupiter or will come. From telescopes, we can see some of the gas clouds and get an idea of some of the materials on Jupiter.

Though other spacecrafts have visited Jupiter (in fact, it is the most visited planet in our solar system) Juno will orbit closer and longer than other probes. It will revolve around the planet 33 times, giving it enough time to study Jupiter’s magnetic field and composition of the atmosphere.