Juno is ready to unlock the secrets of Jupiter

Juno is ready to unlock the secrets of Jupiter

For the time being Nasa doesn’t have met any black monolith, neither any warning in orbit around Jupiter, planet which in recent days was reached by Juno probe, but for scientists their best days are about to start with the launching procedures to activate all the instruments that the probe transported on its trip lasted five years.


According to Nasa administrator Charlie Bolden, “with Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter’s massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet’s interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved.” Now the team of scientists who is following the mission has a few months to perform final testing on the spacecraft’s subsystems and final calibration of nine main science instruments, before the process of data collection and development will start, in October.

Juno is ready to unlock the secrets of Jupiter
Animation of Juno 14-day orbits starting in late 2016.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The mission’s main goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, the main stellar object of the Solar System, but even to investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, to map Jupiter’s magnetic field, to measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras. Then if from these data we will be able to understand more about Solar System’s evolution, from its origin to date the mission will fully achieve its objectives.


In the meantime other space missions continue to search the presence of basic elements of life in our Solar System. It would be wonderful if even from Jupiter arrive in the coming months any more suprises in this respect, but we should not delude ourselves: mission is devoted specifically to the study of the giant planet and does not involve any study of its moons, including Europe, whose ocean beneath the frozen surface seems able to harbor life.

Therefore we shall have to wait at least a decade before Juice, an Esa probe that is supposed to leave in the ‘20s, comes to study frozen moons of Jupiter and, in the same years, another Nasa mission set course right for Europe. Before then ExoMars mission supposed incoming on Mars by the end of this year, may have found evidence of life on the red planet: in any case the feeling that we have not to wait other 1,500 years before meeting another life-form, is getting stronger. How long before the “first encounter”?

Tags: Sciences, NASA, Solar System