Juno is a space probe by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) that is currently orbiting the planet Jupiter. It was launched on 5th August 2011 and entered Jupiter’s orbit on 5th July 2016, five years after its launch. In this article, one can briefly learn about the objectives of Juno Mission, timeline, scientific instruments carried on board, and the significance of the mission.
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Juno Mission – Objectives
- To measure the planet Jupiter’s composition, magnetic and gravity fields, and polar magnetosphere.
- To investigate the planet’s formation and origin.
- To find out the amount of water present in its atmosphere.
- To learn whether Jupiter has a rocky core or not.
- To find out more about Jupiter’s mass distribution and deep winds.
Juno is the second NASA mission to Jupiter. The first one was the Galileo orbiter which ran from 1995 to 2003.
Juno Mission – Timeline
- Launch: 5th August 2011
- Deep space maneuvers: August/September 2012
- Earth flyby gravity assist: October 2013
- Jupiter orbit entry: 4th July 2016
- Mission end: July 2021 (the probe will deorbit into Jupiter and disintegrate into its atmosphere)
37 orbits are planned and are in a 53-day orbit. The probe was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Juno Mission – Scientific Instruments
- Magnetometer (MAG)
- Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instrument (JEDI)
- Microwave Radiometer (MWR)
- Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE)
- Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM)
- Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS)
Juno Mission – Significance
Jupiter is a giant planet and is also called a Gas Giant (the other gas giant being Saturn). Understanding the origin of this planet will also reveal many facets of the solar system itself. It will also help in understanding similar planetary systems around stars other than the Sun. Juno will help us understand the formation of giant planets and also the role played by giant planets in building the solar system.
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