NASA's solar spacecraft Juno will soon fly over Jupiter to collect more information about a gas giant.
On December 21, at 11:49:48 AM EST, Juno will cross only 5,115 km (5,053 km) from Jupiter's clouds to 128,802 kilometers per hour. It'll be an airplane 16th known transition of the planet, which means that Juno's main mission will be halfway.
With this 16th Flight, the Juno mission will spot the whole planet, Jack Connerney, Deputy Chief Mission Officer, said in a NASA statement. Following this milestone, the vessel will provide observations and measurements of the planet in greater clarity and detail.
"In the second half of our main mission – the science of flybys 17 to 32 – we will divide the difference, fly precisely halfway between each previous orbit. This will ensure the coverage of a planet of every 11.25 degree of length, with a more detailed picture of what makes the whole Jupiter bench, "said Connerney.
Mission to Jupiter
Juno has so far been on an elliptical orbit that he took around Jupiter every 53 days. The craft originally came to the planet on July 4, 2016 and collects scientific data from August of the same year. On the flights that Juno has so far completed, the vessel used scientific instruments on board to study the planet under its swirling clouds. Juno continues to explore Jupiter's atmosphere, magnetosphere and internal structure, and collects data on its aurors to better understand how the planet was shaped and developed.
Juno has so far made a series of discoveries about this gas giant. Among other findings, the spaceship found that Jupiter's ground currents are nothing that we see on Earth, and help to make the planet a recognizable line. The vessel also studied the water content on the planet using a microwave radiometer that was flooded into the atmosphere of the planet. By measuring the amount of water in it, researchers can better understand how much oxygen is on the planet, which is also linked to studies of the origin of the planet.
The JunoCam Imuager continues to serve the important dual purpose in this mission. The mirror makes Jupiter's beauty accessible to the general public by capturing the gas giant in all its glory, although this is not just for aesthetic purposes. JunoCam was also important for scientists. The sequence of time shifts made by the imager enabled researchers to better explore the dynamic activity on the planet.