NASA has a new mission around Jupiter.
It’s called JUNO, and the spacecraft arrived at Jupiter in July of 2016 after being launched in 2011. JUNO, currently in orbit around Jupiter, is focused on the science of the big planet itself (versus the Moons), measuring Jupiter’s composition, gravity, magnetic field, and more.
It’s also taking beautiful new pictures, like this one:
And this incredible shot from above the planet’s south pole:
The mission recently decided to forgo a burn maneuver that would have taken it from a 53-day orbit to a 14-day orbit, as the mission is collecting a ton of epic science as it is, and the longer orbit allows for more “bonus science.” Sounds good to us.
In each orbit (four have been completed so far), the craft buzzes the clouds of Jupiter at a relatively close distance, peering into this strange world to study its aurora (like the Northern Lights here on earth), and take measurements.
If you want to help select what JUNO observes on Jupiter…you can! The JunoCam site allows the public to discuss, and vote on, what features on the planet would be the coolest. So, take up your citizen science mantle and upvote your choice of awesome.
In the meantime, if you want to learn even more about JUNO, catch this video:
Author: Nick Azer; Editor: Susan Emmer