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Current Affairs > Science and Technology > 2018-12-14 > Science and Technology

NASAís Juno set to reach halfway mark of Jupiter mission

What in news:

         NASAís solar-powered Juno spacecraft will soon reach the halfway point in data collection of Jupiter

About news:

         On December 21, the Juno spacecraft will be 5,053 kilometers above Jupiterís cloud tops and hurtling by at speed of 207,287 kilometers per hour.

         Juno is in a highly-elliptical 53-day orbit around Jupiter.

         Each orbit includes a close passage over the planetís cloud deck, where it flies a ground track that extends from Jupiterís north pole to its south pole.

         Over the second half of prime mission ó science flybys 17 through 32 ó it will split the difference, flying exactly halfway between each previous orbit.

         This will provide coverage of the planet every 11.25 degrees of longitude, providing a more detailed picture of what makes the whole of Jupiter tick.

         During these flybys, Junoís suite of sensitive science instruments probes beneath the planetís obscuring cloud cover and studies Jupiterís auroras.

         Two instruments aboard Juno, the Stellar Reference Unit and JunoCam, have proven to be useful.

 

The Stellar Reference Unit (SRU):

         It was designed to collect engineering data used for navigation and attitude determination, so the scientists were pleased to find that it has scientific uses as well.

         But after making scientific discoveries in Jupiterís radiation belts and taking a first-of-its-kind image of Jupiterís ring, we realised the added value of the data.

         There is serious scientific interest in what the SRU can tell us about Jupiter.

JunoCam imager

         The JunoCam imager was conceived as an outreach instrument to bring the excitement and beauty of Jupiter exploration to the public.

         ďWhile originally envisioned solely as an outreach instrument to help tell the Juno story, JunoCam has become much more than that.

         But after making scientific discoveries in Jupiterís radiation belts and taking a first-of-its-kind image of Jupiterís ring, we realised the added value of the data.

         There is serious scientific interest in what the SRU can tell us about Jupiter.

         The JunoCam imager was conceived as an outreach instrument to bring the excitement and beauty of Jupiter exploration to the public.

         ďWhile originally envisioned solely as an outreach instrument to help tell the Juno story, JunoCam has become much more than that.

NASAís solar-powered Juno spacecraft

         Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter. It was built by Lockheed Martin and is operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

         After completing its mission, Juno will be intentionally deorbited into Jupiter's atmosphere.

         Juno's mission is to measure Jupiter's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.

         It will also search for clues about how the planet formed, including whether it has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, mass distribution, and its deep winds.

         Juno is the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after the nuclear powered Galileo orbiter, which orbited from 1995 to 2003

Expected prelims question

Juno spacecraft will be orbiting

a)       Mars

b)      Neptune

c)       Saturn

d)      Jupiter

Ans Ė d

Expected mains question

Critically analyse why NASA has deployed its Probe Juno to study the atmosphere of one of the largest planets in solar system