NASA’s Juno Mission: Unlocking The Jupiter Secrets


Juno is a spacecraft and a space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter. Lockheed Martin build it and it is operated by NASA’s jet population laboratory. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 5 August 2011 UTC, as a part of the New Frontiers program. This is the Juno starting its 5-year journey to our solar system. Being Scientifical investigation of the planet Juno entered a polar orbit of Jupiter on 4th July 2016 UTC. Juno’s many discoveries have changed our view of Jupiter’s atmosphere and interior, revealing an atmospheric weather layer that extends far beyond its clouds and a deep interior with a diluted, or “fuzzy,” heavy element core.

Juno mission is to unlock more secrets about the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. Juno mission includes studying Jupiter from its core to its large magnetic field. The mission’s main objective is to help us better understand the origins of our solar system by studying how Jupiter formed.

NASA’s Juno mission has unlocked the secrets of Jupiter’s shrinking red spot and colourful bands.

Juno mission the solar power robotic explorer of Jupiter has completed its five-year prime mission to reveal the inner working of the solar system’s biggest planet. Juno has flown within a few thousand kilometres of Jupiter’s colourful cloud stops every 53 days.

The most recent findings are revealing the three-dimensional structure of Jupiter’s weather systems- including its famous great red spot, a centuries-old storm big enough to swallow the earth whole.

Juno has three ways to look under these cloudy upper layers. You can measure small changes in Jupiter’s gravity and map the mass distribution to the fuzzy core. You can measure the magnetic field of Jupiter to measure the current in a deep magnetized fluid layer. And it can use microwave light to see straight through the clouds.

Great Red Spot

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been in a difficult period for the last few years. It has been steadily shrinking east-west for decades, and recent encounters with small vortices have pulled huge flakes of reddish material from the patch itself. These flaking events may seem awkward to fans of the most well-known storms in the solar system, but they look superficial and only affect the reddish veil that remains on the vortex. 

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot at PJ18 (2019), shows large flakes of red material to the west (left) of the vortex.

In 2017, Juno was able to observe the red spots of microwave light. Then, in 2019, when Juno jumped over the vortex at more than 200,000 kilometres per hour, NASA’s Deep Space Network monitored the speed of the spacecraft from millions of miles away. Small changes of only 0.01 millimetres per second were detected, caused by the gravitational pull of the giant mass.

Belts and Zones

In the cloud-forming meteorological layer, Juno’s microwave antennas saw the expected structure of belts and zones. The cool zone looks dark and indicates the presence of ammonia gas that absorbs microwave light.

Jupiter’s belts and zones observed in microwave light, compared to the colors of the cloud-tops (left), and the winds at the cloud tops (right). Two wavelengths of microwave light are shown, one sensing altitudes above the water cloud, and another sensing below the water clouds.

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  1. Fletcher, L. (2021, November 2). NASA’s Juno mission has unlocked the secrets of Jupiter’s shrinking red spot and colourful bands. Https://Scroll.In/.
  2. Juno. (2018). Https://Www.Nasa.Gov/.

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