Hurray! Juno finally completed its journey from Earth and reached the largest planet Jupiter after five long years. American Independence Day gets an additional celebration of Juno reaching the Jupiter orbit. NASA is proud of launching the first space craft to Jupiter where no other space crafts have reached.
Why is it named as Juno?
According to Roman Mythology Juno is wife of Jupiter and was known as queen of heaven. There is myth that Jupiter used to hide himself behind the clouds, but his wife Juno was able to see him even through those clouds. Just as similar to the story, Juno will help the world learn about planet Jupiter hidden behind the clouds.
Brief Overview of Juno Spacecraft
Juno was launched on August 5th 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and reached Jupiter’s orbit on July 5th 2016. Juno is used to make study of Jupiter’s gravity, magnetic field and polar magnetosphere. All the observations of radio waves around Jupiter aids in studying about this giant planet.
Juno will orbit Jupiter about 32 times faster. Having all the scientific instruments on board Juno will be making observations of thermal radiations emitting from the Jupiter’s atmosphere. And also facilitates the study of aurora that lights up the North and South poles of Jupiter. In order to find out the mystery behind the formation of this giant planet Juno makes an account of both water and ammonia content in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
To determine the Jupiter’s structure its atmospheric study is to be done initially and its mass can be found out by making gravitation and magnetic field maps of Jupiter. Juno will be able to illustrate why Jupiter has the brightest aurora by making a study on electrons and ions in Jupiter’s magnetosphere.
Infrastructure of Juno
Juno has a six sided body structure appearing like a hexagon. It has three large soccer shaped 29 feet long and 9 feet wide solar panels extending outwards from its body. The span of both spacecraft and solar wings span for more than 66 feet. These three solar panels will generate about 450 watts of electricity. It has nine instruments on board in its payload. The nine instruments are Microwave radiometer, Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper, Magnetometer, Jovian Auroral Distribution experiment, Gravity science, Jovian Energetic particle detector instrument, Radio waves and Plasma wave sensor, Ultraviolet Imaging spectrograph and finally the Juno Cam. It also carries Lego mini figures of Galileo, god Jupiter and his wife goddess Juno. These Lego Mini figures are made of aluminium to bear extreme space flight conditions.
Why study Jupiter?
It is very essential to know about our solar system and our Universe. By studying the Jupiter’s atmosphere we can make an estimation of formation of our Universe as Jupiter is said to be formed from the leftovers of Sun. And Jupiter has not changed much since its formation, hence study of Jupiter can help in making a better study of evolution of our Solar system.
We have finally made it till Jupiter which is just like a baby step and there is a long way to go on, don’t you think so?