On the 4th of July, a NASA spacecraft named Juno will try to start orbiting Jupiter. It has traveled for 5 years and 2.8 billion kilometers to get there. This is going to be exciting!
At 4:18 am Greenwich Mean Time, Juno will try to aim its main engine towards the Sun, turn it on for 35 minutes, and slow down to 58 kilometers per second. It will be captured by Jupiter's gravitational field. Says the lead scientist:
“There’s a mixture of tension and anxiety because this is such a critical maneuver and everything is riding on it. We have to get into orbit. The rocket motor has to burn at the right time, in the right direction, for just the right amount of time.”
With luck, Juno will enter a highly eccentric polar orbit, and make 37 orbits lasting 14 days each. Each time it will swoop down just 4000 kilometers above Jupiter's cloud tops, and then shoot back up to a height of 2.7 million kilometers. It will map Jupiter using many instruments.
Juno will gradually be damaged by Jupiter's intense radiation, even though the main computer is encased in a 200-kilogram titanium box. After its last orbit, it will deliberately plunge to its death - so that it has no chance of contaminating the oceans of Europa.
Juno has already entered Jupiter's magnetosphere - the region of space dominated by Jupiter's powerful magnetic field. You can hear it here:
For details of Juno's trajectory, go here:
And watch the NASA "preview" here - it's like the preview of a science fiction movie, only better!
- Distinguished researcher, 2013 - present
- Research director, 2008 - 2013
- LNEC, Lisbon1975 - 1977
- SRI International1982 - 1989
- AT&T1989 - 2000
- University of Pennsylvania2001 - 2007
- University of LisbonMathematics, 1969 - 1975
- University of EdinburghArtificial intelligence, 1977 - 1982
Extreme parties are winning in Europe because mainstream ones have no an...
Polarization can get out of hand, but in Europe the mainstream parties don't disagree about the most important issue of the day — how to fix
This column will change your life: hindsight – it's not just for past ev...
'Hindsight makes things look so utterly different that it's impossible, when taking a decision in the moment, even to begin to grasp how it'
Encounters at the End of the World - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Synopsis. Herzog and cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger go to Antarctica to meet people who live and work there, and to capture footage
One Airbag Feature You Need To Use That You Probably Don't | SnowBrains.com
A case study from the fall edition of the Canadian Avalanche Association's publication The Avalanche Journal details the death of a skier in
Vulcan's View Special: Oh, the Volcanoes I've Seen - Wired Science
The Old-and-Improved Petzval Lens Gives Your Portraits a Swirly · This Week's Apple Rumors, Ranked From Dumbest to Most Plausible · Turn Off
To England: transit travails and a historical interlude | Highly Allocht...
The iron and brickwork in your photo looks like a sluice gate to me…? Reply. Carol Jefferson says: July 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm. Enjoyed the pho
Could Superman Punch Someone Into Space? | Wired Science | Wired.com
Could Superman punch someone so hard that they went into space? No. Here are four reasons why that couldn't happen.