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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Juno update

Juno update

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, November 1, 2019/Categories: natural history, photography, video, space science, art and design, environment, adventure

Jupiter's jet stream patterns, Juno-cam 5-29-19. (credit, citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt, NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI)

The Juno space probe had to change its orbit around Jupiter to prevent the spacecraft from going into the shadow of the giant planet. Without a course correction, the total darkness would have drained the probe's solar-powered batteries before returning to the daylight. According to NASA, Juno successfully executed a nearly 10 hour maneuver to keep it out of what would have been a mission-ending shadow during its next flyby of the planet. Using the spacecraft's thrusters, the course adjustment took longer than any previous use of Juno's propulsion system. Without this maneuver, Juno would have spent 12 hours in transit across Jupiter's shadow that would have drained the spacecraft's batteries. Scott Bolton, a Juno program manager said,

"With the success of this burn, we are on track to avoid the shadow. Jumping over the shadow was an amazingly creative solution to what seemed like a fatal (flight) geometry. Eclipses are generally not friends of solar-powered spacecraft. Now instead of worrying about freezing to death, I am looking forward to the next science discovery that Jupiter has in store for Juno."

The spacecraft's camera, Juno-cam, continues capturing remarkable images of the swirling storms raging in Jupiter's atmosphere. A powerful image of the planet's jet stream was captured prior to the precautionary course correction. Raw images from Juno-cam are uploaded to a NASA database where anyone can download, process them, and investigate the details. The database resources have become a popular 'citizen science' project that has even provided new insights to questions space scientists are investigating themselves. Information on this program is provided in this video.

Photo-animation: Juno approaching Jupiter, Sun in yellow, blue auroras. (credit, NASA/JPL/CalTech/SWRI )

The photographs, scientific data, and other visual media received from Juno will continue to excite NASA researchers, 'citizen scientists', and the general public alike.



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