Science

NASA Spacecraft Gets Up Close With Jupiter's Great Red Spot

NASA Spacecraft Gets Up Close With Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Juno, which earlier this month marked its first year in orbit of the gas giant, will offer "humanity's first up-close and personal view of the huge feature", NASA said in a statement.

The gaseous red spot has been monitored by humans since 1830 according to NASA and is thought to have raged for as much as 350 years. Scientists at NASA are eager to discover what lies inside the Great Red Spot, a mysterious storm that has captured their attention for years.

Bolton noted that now, the spacecraft and her "cloud-penetrating" science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of the storm go, and help scientists understand how the Great Red Spot storm works and what makes it so unique. Juno's altitude will have increased by this point in its flyby, but it will still be a mere 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the Red Spot. The spacecraft has orbited around space since August 2011, and it arrived at Jupiter past year, as planned. When Juno completes the mission's 33 scheduled orbits, the spacecraft will have covered Jupiter's entire surface. This is considerably closer than Voyager 1 got when it flew past Jupiter on its way out of the solar system in 1979. At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops.

Juno's camera is expected to capture detailed images of the spot, and the craft also carries scientific instruments that can probe into Jupiter's storm. All eight of the spacecraft's instruments as well as its imager, JunoCam, will be on during the flyby.

What is the Juno spacecraft? So how is a single massive storm able to keep churning for centuries?




Currently, the orbiting schedule has Juno returning to the Great Red Spot every fifty-three days.

The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles above the Giant Red Spot's clouds. "We'll be curious to see whether there's lightning coming from the Great Red Spot or around it".

Juno celebrated its one-year-anniversary within Jupiter's orbit at 10:30 p.m. EDT on July 4, 2017, chalking up around 71 million miles in orbit around the gas giant.

Juno's overall mission is to collect data about Jupiter's origins and structure, including the atmosphere and magnetosphere.


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