The situation is such that Juno is getting closer and closer to the planet Jupiter.
Spacecraft do not take breaks like us humans. As for those who operate them, whether from ground control or aboard them, they too have to remain vigilant.
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Today, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will get to enter a zone that is within 2500 miles of the planet Jupiter. This is the nearest it will be capable of getting to the gaseous giant. There will furthermore be eight different measuring instruments on board Juno.
This is thus humanity’s first close-up look at Jupiter. This occasion marks a five year long journey of Juno. It was worth the wait. Now the spacecraft has entered the orbit surrounding Jupiter.
This orbit will take up to 53.5 days. The scientific instruments were switched off during the orbit since there would have been too much interference with the signals reaching the earth.
The spacecraft has made a round by now and thus the instruments have been turned on. Among some of the tasks that will get accomplished are: an examination of the magnetic field, gravity gauging and the use of microwave sensors in the search for water.
Jupiter is definitely going to be a big surprise for us earthlings. The Southwest Research Institute is where many of the concerned scientists are headed.
Much of the data will be reaching this institute today. Juno will be collecting images of the polar regions of the planet. These poles have never before been seen in an up, close and personal manner.
As for the blast of radiation from the belts of the planet, they will strike the spacecraft in a full-on manner. There is the fear that the radiation will adversely affect one of the instruments.
Juno is at such an extreme distance from the earth that scientists back home will not know about its present condition until an hour’s lapse in time. Once this mission is completed, Juno will enter another orbital round.