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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Welcome to Jupiter: Juno space probes successfully makes final leg of journey into the orbit of Jupiter

    NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
    A portrait of Jupiter as seen by the space probe Cassini.

    All eyes were on the sky during the Fourth of July, and
    there’s no exception at NASA. But they weren’t looking at fireworks; they were
    waiting for the Juno space probe to arrive at Jupiter. The Juno space probe
    mission arrived at Jupiter, 540 million miles away, after a five year voyage
    through the solar system.

    Juno was launched to study the composition of Jupiter, both
    the gravity and magnetic fields and the details about how the planet formed.
    One experiment is being spearheaded by a UA professor in the Lunar and
    Planetary Laboratory, William Hubbard. Hubbard and his colleagues are looking
    at the composition of Jupiter’s interior, specifically with the core using
    gravity data from Juno.

    The final step into orbit, called an orbit insertion,  was particularly tense for the Juno team. The
    probe needed to slow down enough to enter orbit, not simply go through to land
    on the planet.  The probe needed to ‘hit
    the brakes,’ essentially fire it’s engine and slow itself down by 1,212 miles
    per hour, according to CNN. The
    tricky move was successful and the probe successfully entered orbit.

    Here are some facts about Juno you need to know after it’s
    successful orbit insertion.

    •     Radiation
      can hurt space crafts, too

    The radiation around Jupiter is extreme. With a magnetic
    field nearly 20,000 times as intense as Earth’s, Juno needs protection from charged
    particles moving at high speeds

    •     Capture
      orbits can save fuel

    Juno will be in an orbit for 107 days in a “capture
    orbit” to save fuel. The final orbit of Juno is only 14 days, but a direct
    route to the final orbit would have used a large amount of fuel. The capture
    orbit also allows for scientists to ensure the instruments are working properly
    and to being collecting data.

    •    Death will
      be swift and traumatic

    Juno will end its mission in February 2018 by intentionally
    crashing into Jupiter’s atmosphere as to preserve Europa from Earth microbes
    that could contaminate the ocean covered moon.

    For more updates about NASA’s Juno space probe, follow it’s twitter.

    Follow Bailey Bellavance on Twitter.

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