NASA s Juno spacecraft entered the biggest planet s orbit on July 5, 2016. Built by Lockheed Martin and operated by NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Juno was launched on August 5, 2011 to begin its journey of unraveling Jupiter s mysteries. On entering Jupiter s orbit after an almost five-year travel, NASA released a video of time lapse images captured by Juno approaching the planet. Juno has repeatedly released beautiful images of Jupiter during its flybys and has also met with some shortcomings in between. Here s a list of some interesting facts surrounding NASA s Juno probe. Also Read - NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter uses same chip as Samsung Galaxy S5, OnePlus OneAlso Read - NASA Perseverance Mars rover uses 1998 iMac processor with just one upgrade
How did Juno get its name?
NASA gave an apt name to its spacecraft and is named after Goddess Juno. According to Greek and Roman mythology, Jupiter surrounded himself with a veil of clouds to hide his mischievous activities. Juno however found a way to get through the clouds and reveal Jupiter s real nature. NASA says that its Juno spacecraft will also look beneath the clouds to see what the planet is up to and help them to understand the planet s structure and history .
Interesting items sent aboard the Juno spacecraft
The Juno spacecraft carried Lego figures of goddess Juno holding a magnifying glass and Jupiter with a lightning bolt. Another Lego figure belonging to the famous astronomer Galileo who discovered four of Jupiter s largest moons is sent aboard the spacecraft. Lego Galileo is paired with a telescope and a mini-Jupiter. Another interesting item includes a plaque gifted by the Italian Space Agency which has an excerpt from Galileo s notes while discovering Jupiter s moons. ALSO READ: NASA collaborates with Apple to make a short film on Juno probe
Juno is the only solar-powered spacecraft at the farthest distance in the solar system
NASA s Juno spacecraft is powered by the three largest solar arrays which are mainly used by satellites orbiting the planet Earth. While it does carry a radioactive power source, Juno heavily relies on the three giant solar panels which are placed in such a way that they only face the sun for energy. ALSO READ: NASA s Juno successfully enters Jupiter orbit, gets a Google doodle
What exactly will Juno study about Jupiter?
During its flybys, Juno will study how much water is available in Jupiter s atmosphere to help determine the ultimate planet formation theory or may be create a new one. Juno will also monitor Jupiter s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other activities. Juno will map the magnetic and gravity fields on Jupiter thereby studying the planet s deep structure. Juno will also explore and study the auroras of Jupiter, its northern and southern lights. ALSO READ: NASA s Juno probe finds Earth-sized storms over Jupiter poles
When and how will Juno end its mission?
After orbiting Jupiter for 20 months, Juno will end its mission in February 2018 by de-orbiting into the planet. In essence, Juno will see its death inside Jupiter. However, Juno may not be in one piece as it approaches its end, since radiation surrounding Jupiter is strong enough to damage the spacecraft. ALSO READ: NASA s Juno probe captures Jupiter s string of pearls
BONUS: NASA gives you a chance to decide what the JunoCam should capture
NASA has a dedicated page and community where interested people can join in and decide the points of interest for JunoCam to capture during its flybys. Users can upload their telescopic images of Jupiter to help simplify the project and give the precise location of which area should be captured. ALSO READ: NASA invites you to vote what the Juno spacecraft captures at Jupiter