Monday, November 24, 2008

NASA preparing Juno probe to study Jupiter

From Cnet: NASA has announced that it is planning to launch a mission, entitled Juno, to conduct a large-scale survey of our solar system's biggest planet. The spacecraft is planned for an August 2011 launch on board an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. It is expected to reach its destination, orbit around Jupiter, in 2016. The plan is for the spacecraft to orbit Jupiter 32 times over the course of a year at a distance of around 3,000 miles above the planet's cloud tops. What makes this mission truly unique is that this would be the first solar-powered spacecraft expected to be able to perform its duties so far from the sun. Jupiter is more than four times farther away from the sun as Earth, a total of around 400 million miles. NASA hopes the mission will discover or explore the existence of an ice-rock core. Plus Juno will also study the planet's strong magnetic field, and its aurora borealis.


Dave Tackett said...

Like virtually all NASA missions, I'm looking forward to this. Still I'm saddened that Europa, the most interesting spot in the Jovian system won't be the focus of it,

Beam Me Up said...

I have to agree. I would LOVE to get some close ups of this one. I know what spiked my interest (2001) but still. There was a reason that Clarke was fascinated with the Jovian systems. The moons are just as interesting as the primary.