The Juno Approach Movie

As Juno approached Jupiter a series of images were taken between the dates of 10 June to 23 June. We can see the motions of the four Galilean moons.

Notice the moon Callisto, the outermost of the four, it is much dimmer than might be expected and becomes one of the first questions for the mission scientists.

The science instruments will be turned on in a couple of days and the next close encounter between Juno and Jupiter comes at the end of August.


The Roar of Jupiter

The video represents two events for the Juno spacecraft. The first event is when the Wave instrument aboard Juno crosses the bow shock of Jupiter on 24 June. The bow shock is where the solar wind interacts with the magnetic field of Jupiter, the solar wind is slowed and heated by the planets magnetic field – think of something like a sonic-boom.

The second is the crossing of the magnetopause the boundary between the magnetic fields of the Sun and Jupiter on 25 July.   The representation is very 1950’s sci-fi, it’s great.


The Great Red Spot


In this image of Jupiter taken from the Juno cam on 28 June 2016 we can see the Great Red Spot of coming into focus.  As is the case for most images posted here you can click it for a larger version.

The image was acquired from 6.2 million km / 3.9 million miles away as the spacecraft approaches the planet towards the north pole.  The gap between Jupiter and the Juno spacecraft will quickly diminish and in just a few days the spacecraft will begin orbiting the giant planet.

The moons we can see are in order from Left to Right: Ganymede, Io, Europa.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS


Carbonates in Occator Crater


Now know the bright material in Occator crater is a carbonate. We also know that carbonate is sodium carbonate.

Great news IMHO.
From Dawn:
The center of Ceres’ mysterious Occator Crater is the brightest area on the dwarf planet. The inset perspective view is overlaid with data concerning the composition of this feature: Red signifies a high abundance of carbonates, while gray indicates a low carbonate abundance.

Dawn’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIR) was used to examine the composition of the bright material in the center of Occator. Using VIR data, researchers found that the dominant constituent of this bright area is sodium carbonate, a kind of salt found on Earth in hydrothermal environments. Scientists determined that Occator represents the highest concentration of carbonate minerals ever seen outside Earth.

Parachute Testing



I must confess, every time I see one of these parachute tests I quickly start wondering how that anchor point is constructed. I know, technically it’s not difficult, I just seem to have this need to know what the force at the base of the column is. Some day I will gather the data and do an estimate – and yes I say that every time. I forget quickly.

Check out what the parachute must do and be amazed at what the parachute must do.

From ESA:

This is a test version of the parachute that will slow the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing module as they plummet through the martian atmosphere on 19 October.

When the module is about 11 km from the surface, descending at about 1700 km/h, the parachute will be deployed by a mortar. The parachute will slow the module to about 200 km/h by 1.2 km above the surface, at which stage it will be jettisoned.

The parachute is a ‘disc-gap-band’ type, as used for the ESA Huygens probe descent to Titan and for all NASA planetary entries so far.

The canopy, with a normal diameter of 12 m, is made from nylon fabric and the lines are made from Kevlar, a very strong synthetic material.

Tests of how the parachute will inflate at supersonic speeds were carried out with a smaller model in a supersonic wind tunnel in the NASA Glenn Research Center.

The full-scale qualification model, pictured here, was used to test the pyrotechnic mortar deployment and the strength of the parachute in the world’s largest wind tunnel, operated by the US Air Force at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex in the Ames Research Center, California.

The tower is needed to place the mortar – the horizontal tube at the top of the tower – at the centre of the wind tunnel for testing.

Schiaparelli was launched on 14 March with the Trace Gas Orbiter on a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan.

Image: USAF Arnold Engineering Development Complex

Saturn and Enceladus


Another beautiful image from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting around Saturn.

From NASA:
At first glance, the most obvious features in this image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft are Saturn’s rings and the icy moon Enceladus. Upon closer inspection, Saturn’s night side is also visible (near top center), faintly illuminated by sunlight reflected off the rings.

In this view, icy Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) hangs in the space between Cassini and the giant planet.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from 0.14 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 18, 2015.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 87,000 miles (139,000 kilometers) from Enceladus. Image scale is 5 miles (8 kilometers) per pixel.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Almost Home for Juno


This view of Jupiter was taken from the Juno spacecraft on 21 June 2016 as it approaches the giant planet. The distinctive banding of the planet is becoming evident and we can easily see the four major moons and they are, in order from left to right: Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa. You can see these moons from Earth with just a pair of binoculars too, give it a try.

Juno is approaching Jupiter over the north pole so we are going to get a very different perspective than we got from other missions.

If you are thinking the image is a little blurry no to worry; Junocam is designed to take high resolution images of the Jovian atmosphere and not distance shots. This image was taken from 10.9 million km / 6.8 million miles.

One week to go!

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS