Juno’s Journey to Jupiter

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TOPIC: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

  • Juno is a solar powered aircraft of NASA that began its journey five years back, in 2011.
  • It entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 5, 2016 without being knocked down by its intense magnetic field and radiation.
  • It is perhaps the key to how the solar system was formed.
  • Jupiter, according to experts, was the first planet formed in the solar system.
  • It is equipped with nine sophisticated instruments to:
  1. study the existence of a solid planetary core
  2. to map the planet’s intense magnetic field
  3. measure the amount of water and ammonia in its atmosphere
  4. observe auroras on Jupiter
  5. understand how such huge planets are formed and what role they play in the formation of the rest of the system.
  6. to understand the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.
  • It is not the first spacecraft to enter into Jupiter’s orbit.
  • Galileo spacecraft from 1995 to 2003, explored the giant planet.
  • But Juno is better equipped than its predecessor and has the ability to look below the dense cloud cover of Jupiter.
  • It will orbit the planet 37 times from pole-to-pole, minimizing the amount of radiation exposure. But its orbit will eventually shift due to Jupiter’s intense gravitational field.
  • This will make the spacecraft pass through regions of more intense radiations.
  • Ultimately it will burn up in Jupiter’s atmosphere in 2018 to avoid any biological contamination of any one of its moons, particularly Europa which is believed to have a large ocean beneath its surface (a sign of life)
  • and it’s journey will come to an end.

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