Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Juno slingshots past Earth on its way to Jupiter

09.10.2013
Spacecraft with UI instrument makes closest Earth encounter Oct. 9

If you've ever whirled a ball attached to a string around your head and then let it go, you know the great speed that can be achieved through a slingshot maneuver.


Juno, carrying a University of Iowa-designed-and-built instrument, will arrive at Jupiter in July 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Similarly, NASA's Juno spacecraft will be passing within some 350 miles of Earth's surface at 3:21p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 9, before it slingshots off into space on a historic exploration of Jupiter.

It's all part of a scientific investigation that began with an August 2011 launch. The mission will begin in earnest when Juno arrives at Jupiter in July 2016. Bill Kurth, University of Iowa research scientist and lead investigator for one of Juno's nine scientific instruments, the Waves instrument, says that the two years spent moving outward past the orbit of Mars before swinging past the Earth makes the trip to Jupiter possible.

"Juno will be really smoking as it passes Earth at a speed of about 25 miles per second relative to the sun. But it will need every bit of this speed to get to Jupiter for its July 4, 2016 capture into polar orbit about Jupiter," says Kurth, who has been involved with the mission since the beginning. "The first half of its journey has been simply to set up this gravity assist with Earth."

"One of Juno's activities during the Earth flyby will be to make a movie of the Earth-moon system that will be the first to show Earth spinning on its axis from a distance," says Scott Bolton, principal investigator for the Juno mission from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

Kurth and colleagues UI Professor Don Gurnett and research scientist George Hospodarsky note that the real science will begin when Juno begins orbiting Jupiter some 33 times over the course of a year. Juno will be the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter over its poles. The orbit will be highly eccentric, taking Juno from just above the cloud tops to a distance of about 1.75 million miles from Jupiter, every 11 days.

The UI-designed-and-built Waves instrument will examine a variety of phenomena within Jupiter's polar magnetosphere by measuring radio and plasma waves. It's one of nine experiments to be undertaken of the gas giant.

In particular, Juno will explore the solar system's most powerful auroras—Jupiter's northern and southern lights—by flying directly through the electrical current systems that generate them.

"Jupiter has the largest and most energetic magnetosphere, and to finally get an opportunity to study the nature of its auroras and the role radio and plasma waves play in their generation makes Juno a really exciting mission for me," says Kurth.

Juno's other major objectives are to understand the origin and evolution of the solar system's largest planet by:

Determining the amount of water and ammonia present in the atmosphere.
Observing the dynamics of Jupiter's upper atmosphere.
Mapping the planet's magnetic and gravity fields to learn more about its deep interior including the size of its core.

Gurnett, a world leader in the field of space plasma physics, says the Juno spacecraft and its unique orbit will expand upon Jupiter data gathered by previous UI instruments.

Juno's destiny is a fiery entry into Jupiter's atmosphere at the end of its one-year science phase as a means of guaranteeing it doesn't impact Europa and possibly contaminate that icy world with microbes from Earth. This would jeopardize future missions to that moon designed to determine whether life had begun there on its own.

The Juno Waves instrument will be the eighth UI instrument to make the trek to Jupiter. Previous Iowa instruments were carried aboard Pioneers 10 and 11, Voyagers 1 and 2, Galileo (including two UI instruments), and Cassini, currently in orbit around Saturn.

The Waves instrument was built at the UI by a group of about a dozen scientists, engineers, and technicians, led by research engineer Donald Kirchner. Terry Averkamp, Chris Piker, and William Robinson assist in the operation of the Waves instrument and in the data processing.

The Juno project is a collaborative enterprise, led by Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, including the UI and many other organizations and individuals.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Bolton. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built and operates the spacecraft. Launch management for the mission was the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Contacts:
Bill Kurth, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 319-530-8312 (cell).
Don Gurnett, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 319-335-1697.
Gary Galluzzo, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0009.

Gary Galluzzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiowa.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>