NASA Newly Flew a Spacecraft Closer to Jupiter than Ever-Before - Physics-Astronomy.org

NASA Newly Flew a Spacecraft Closer to Jupiter than Ever-Before

NASA’s Juno spacecraft presently completed a record-breaking flyby of Jupiter, snapping a few incredible pictures as it soared over the tops of the gas giant’s clouds at speeds of around 209,200 km/h (130,000 mph). Now that Juno has lastly reached its destination, after spending the previous five years and 2.9 billion km (1.8 billion miles) in transit, it’s scheduled to total 35 more flybys of Jupiter over the next 18 months.
    "Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that all worked as planned and Juno is firing on all cylinders," said Juno’s project manager, Rick Nybakken.
 According to NASA, Juno successfully executed its 1st flyby on August 27 at 6:44am PDT (13:44 UTC), receiving within 4,184 km (2,600 miles) above Jupiter's swirling clouds.
At that moment, the spacecraft kicked nine different on-board instrument into gear, capturing close-up images with JunoCam - its panoramic colour camera.  The images are likely to be released by NASA later this week, but you can see one in the tweet below, taken when Juno was at 703,000 km (437,000 miles) away from Jupiter. in order about Jupiter’s gravity, magnetic field, chemical work of art, and what’s behind its 617-km/h (384-mph) winds will be analysed as it’s downloaded from the craft.
    "We are receiving some intriguing early data returns as we speak, it will get days for all the data to be downlinked, and even more to start to comprehend what Juno and Jupiter are annoying to tell us. This is our first chance to really take a close-up look at the king of our Solar System and start to figure out how he works." Scott Bolton, principal researcher of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, told the press.
If you’re secretly not that frightened that 4,184 km above the clouds of Jupiter is the top we can do, consider that the previous record for the closest move toward of the planet was set by NASA’s Pioneer 11 spacecraft back in 1974, when it got within 43,452 km (27,000 miles) of the atmosphere.  Since then, we’ve manage to get NASA’s Galileo spacecraft right into Jupiter’s atmosphere, where it spontaneously combusted, thanks to the planet’s super-powerful energy belts.
Before Galileo was deliberately flown into the Solar System's incinerating machine - better than having it fly about as space junk for the foreseeable future - it orbited the planet at a space of about 200,000 km (130,000 miles). Jupiter's radiation belts are related to the Van Allen belts around Earth, but are a lot more intense, given the fact that Jupiter’s magnetic field is around 20,000 times extra powerful than Earth's. In this area, electrons and ions are collected from inward solar winds and trapped within the magnetic field, where they’re accelerated to almost the speed of light, and deliver to Jupiter’s poles to create massive solar storms and some very colourful aurorae.
    "Once these electrons hit a spacecraft, they right away begin to ricochet and let go energy, creating secondary photons and particles, which then ricochet," Heidi Becker, manager of Juno’s radiation-monitoring group, told Mike Wall at Space.com in July. "It's like a spray of radiation bullets."
The radiation in Jupiter’s radiation belts is at its harshest within about 300,000 kilometres (about 200,000 miles) of the planet, so the information that Juno is expected to have to withstand all that for the next 18 months is pretty damn imposing. We do feel slightly bad for some of its cargo though - those titanium Lego models of Galileo Galilei, & the goddess Juno and her husband Jupiter are most likely having a pretty bad time of it.
NASA Newly Flew a Spacecraft Closer to Jupiter than Ever-Before
Sad Lego deaths aside, let's hope for some extra amazing results from Juno in the next months. We can't wait to see what little Juno serves up next. As NASA's Scott Bolton said over the weekend: "We are in an orbit nobody has ever been in previous to, and these images give us a whole latest perspective on this gas-giant world."

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