Jupiter’s Inner Secrets
The JUNO spacecraft was launched in August 2011 and will reach Jupiter in July 2016. After being captured by Jupiter’s gravity, JUNO will use its instruments to learn what’s beneath the tops of the clouds to find out what lies inside Jupiter.
Why It Matters
Juno’s trajectory has it receiving a gravity assist from Earth before leaving the inner solar system, allowing the craft to get to Jupiter with a much smaller rocket than a direct flight
- Jupiter is the largest planet; information about Jupiter may help with understanding the sun and the other gas giants.
- Jupiter’s composition is very much like it was at the beginning of the solar system so learning about it can help us learn about the early Earth.
- Jupiter is unique in that it makes its own auroras due to the energy it has in its polar regions.
With the links below, learn more about the Juno Mission. Then answer the following questions.
- ScienceAtNASA, ScienceCasts: What Lies Inside Jupiter (video): www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO27Wjl8e9c
- NASA, Juno (website): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/overview/index.html#.UvpvK87y0sh
- What are some of the questions scientists are trying to answer with the JUNO mission?
- How was the JUNO spacecraft designed to answer those questions?
- How will JUNO learn about Jupiter’s interior?
- What is the main component of the clouds of Jupiters and what do scientists think is found in the deep interior? Why?
- What will the magnetometer on board JUNO find out about Jupiter?
- Where is JUNO now (at the time you are reading this)? If it is at Jupiter, what scientific findings has it had recently? News about the mission is updated here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/news/index.html#.UvpwjM7y0sg