Juno’s unheard-of opinion of Jupiter and his moon is a gift that keeps on giving.
NASA’s space agency originally planned to end its mission in 2018 after completing 34 orbits of the giant planet. It is now in orbit 47. How long scientists will get this front view of these worlds is not clear, especially as the zoomed-in space of the gas giant and the powerful, destructive radiation of its magnetosphere is ever closer.
But Juno is tough, said space scientist Scott Bolton, principal investigator of the Juno mission, at a news conference in Chicago at the December meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The boats “are built like armored tanks and hold targets,” said Bolton, of the Southern Research Institute, which is headquartered in San Antonio.
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After entering a wide orbit around Jupiter in 2016, images of Juno quickly began to help scientists gain insight into the planet’s mysteries, including the geometric arrangement of cyclones around its poles and the strange, convoluted shape of its magnetic field.SN: 3/7/18; SN: 9/5/18). Juno observed lightning storms through the tops of the planet’s clouds and Jupiter, the only planet other than Earth known to host the vanishing, atmospheric-born lightning, known and elven (spirit) lightning.SN: 8/5/20; SN: 11/2/20).
Juno will also be seen by some of the planet’s moons by a flyby of Ganymede in 2021. Ganymede is “infused with Jupiter’s magnetic field,” and Juno could observe, among other things, the magnetic field lines drawn between the planet and. His moon said space physicist Thomas Greathouse, also of the Southwest Research Institute.
In September, Juno flew by Europa’s moon Jupiter, capturing the dark crisscross cracks, ridges and joints on the moon’s icy surface in detail. Now the ship is heading towards Io towards the innermost moon.
While Juno seems to be strong, “It ends in two ways,” Bolton said. Juno could be too degraded by the massive radiation job — or simply pushed, as it needs to point its antennas toward Earth. If that happens, “he could collect the information, he can’t send it back.”
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