Issue Date: December 1, 2008
Jupiter Probe To Move Forward
NASA has green-lighted a mission to study the formation, evolution, and structure of Jupiter. The mission, called Juno, involves a spacecraft powered by solar energy that will orbit the solar system’s largest planet for about one year, circling the planet some 32 times. This mission will deploy the first deep-space probe to use solar power instead of radioisotope thermal generation power. Juno is scheduled to launch in 2011, and it will begin orbiting Jupiter in 2016 if all goes as planned. A camera and nine science instruments—such as an ultraviolet—imaging spectrograph and an energetic particle detector—will gather data about Jupiter’s intense magnetic fields, the existence of an ice-rock core, and details of the water and ammonia clouds in its deep atmosphere. Understanding the makeup of Jupiter will give researchers new insight into the development of the solar system, according to NASA.
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