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Topic: Southwest Research Institute

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft sends back it’s first Images of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The first two images from NASA’s Juno Spacecraft’s June 7th, 2021, flyby of Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede have been received on Earth.

The photos – one from the Jupiter orbiter’s JunoCam imager and the other from its Stellar Reference Unit star camera – show the surface in remarkable detail, including craters, clearly distinct dark and bright terrain, and long structural features possibly linked to tectonic faults.

“This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation,” said Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

This image of Ganymede was obtained by the JunoCam imager during Juno’s June 7th, 2021, flyby of the icy moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

This image of Ganymede was obtained by the JunoCam imager during Juno’s June 7th, 2021, flyby of the icy moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft to fly close to Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On Monday, June 7th, at 12:35pm CT (10:35am PDT), NASA’s Juno spacecraft will come within 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) of the surface of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede.

The flyby will be the closest a spacecraft has come to the solar system’s largest natural satellite since NASA’s Galileo spacecraft made its penultimate close approach back on May 20th, 2000.

Left to right: The mosaic and geologic maps of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede were assembled incorporating the best available imagery from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. (USGS Astrogeology Science Center/Wheaton/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Left to right: The mosaic and geologic maps of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede were assembled incorporating the best available imagery from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. (USGS Astrogeology Science Center/Wheaton/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft data reveals birth of Auroral Dawn Storms on Jupiter

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New results from the Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument on NASA’s Juno mission reveal for the first time the birth of auroral dawn storms – the early morning brightening unique to Jupiter’s spectacular aurorae.

These immense, transient displays of light occur at both Jovian poles and had previously been observed only by ground-based and Earth-orbiting observatories, notably NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Results of this study were published March 16th in the journal AGU Advances.

This illustration depicts ultraviolet polar aurorae on Jupiter and Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/UVS/STScI/MODIS/WIC/IMAGE/ULiège)

This illustration depicts ultraviolet polar aurorae on Jupiter and Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/UVS/STScI/MODIS/WIC/IMAGE/ULiège)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft reveals Jupiter’s Hot Spots are wider, deeper than thought

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Twenty-five years ago, NASA sent history’s first probe into the atmosphere of the solar system’s largest planet. But the information returned by the Galileo probe during its descent into Jupiter caused head-scratching: The atmosphere it was plunging into was much denser and hotter than scientists expected.

New data from NASA’s Juno spacecraft suggests that these “hot spots” are much wider and deeper than anticipated. The findings on Jupiter’s hot spots, along with an update on Jupiter’s polar cyclones, were revealed on December 11th, 2020, during a virtual media briefing at the American Geophysical Union’s fall conference.

These images from NASA's Juno mission show three views of a Jupiter "hot spot" - a break in Jupiter's cloud deck that provides a glimpse into the planet's deep atmosphere. The pictures were taken by the JunoCam imager during the spacecraft's 29th close flyby of the giant planet on Sept. 16, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing: Brian Swift © CC BY)

These images from NASA’s Juno mission show three views of a Jupiter “hot spot” – a break in Jupiter’s cloud deck that provides a glimpse into the planet’s deep atmosphere. The pictures were taken by the JunoCam imager during the spacecraft’s 29th close flyby of the giant planet on Sept. 16, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing: Brian Swift © CC BY)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft data reveals Shallow Lightning, Mushballs on Jupiter

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New results from NASA’s Juno mission at Jupiter suggest our solar system’s largest planet is home to what’s called “shallow lightning.” An unexpected form of electrical discharge, shallow lightning originates from clouds containing an ammonia-water solution, whereas lightning on Earth originates from water clouds.

Other new findings suggest the violent thunderstorms for which the gas giant is known may form slushy ammonia-rich hailstones Juno’s science team calls “mushballs”; they theorize that mushballs essentially kidnap ammonia and water in the upper atmosphere and carry them into the depths of Jupiter’s atmosphere.

This illustration uses data obtained by NASA's Juno mission to depict high-altitude electrical storms on Jupiter. Juno's sensitive Stellar Reference Unit camera detected unusual lightning flashes on Jupiter's dark side during the spacecraft's close flybys of the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt)

This illustration uses data obtained by NASA’s Juno mission to depict high-altitude electrical storms on Jupiter. Juno’s sensitive Stellar Reference Unit camera detected unusual lightning flashes on Jupiter’s dark side during the spacecraft’s close flybys of the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt)

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NASA’s Lucy Mission Passes Critical Mission Milestone

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s Lucy mission last week marked the completion of a major milestone on the path to spacecraft assembly, test, and launch operations.

The Systems Integration Review ensured segments, components, and subsystems, scientific instrumentation, electrical and communication systems, and navigation systems are on schedule to be integrated into the system. It confirmed that facilities, support personnel, and plans and procedures are on schedule to support integration.

NASA's Lucy spacecraft poses in front of the orbit trajectory for her 12-year mission to study the Trojan Asteroids. Lucy will be featured in her own cartoon series coming soon. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft poses in front of the orbit trajectory for her 12-year mission to study the Trojan Asteroids. Lucy will be featured in her own cartoon series coming soon. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft data reveals amount of Water in Jupiter’s Atmosphere

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Juno mission has provided its first science results on the amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Published recently in the journal Nature Astronomy, the Juno results estimate that at the equator, water makes up about 0.25% of the molecules in Jupiter’s atmosphere – almost three times that of the Sun.

These are also the first findings on the gas giant’s abundance of water since the agency’s 1995 Galileo mission suggested Jupiter might be extremely dry compared to the Sun (the comparison is based not on liquid water but on the presence of its components, oxygen and hydrogen, present in the Sun).

The JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this image of Jupiter's southern equatorial region on Sept. 1, 2017. The image is oriented so Jupiter's poles (not visible) run left-to-right of frame. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)

The JunoCam imager aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this image of Jupiter’s southern equatorial region on Sept. 1, 2017. The image is oriented so Jupiter’s poles (not visible) run left-to-right of frame. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)

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NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft data reveals Critical Information about Planetary Formation

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data from NASA’s New Horizons mission are providing new insights into how planets and planetesimals – the building blocks of the planets – were formed. 

The New Horizons spacecraft flew past the ancient Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth (2014 MU69) on January 1st, 2019, providing humankind’s first close-up look at one of the icy remnants of solar system formation in the vast region beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The uniform color and composition of Arrokoth’s surface shows the Kuiper Belt object formed from a small, uniform, cloud of material in the solar nebula, rather than a mishmash of matter from more separated parts of the nebula. The former supports the idea that Arrokoth formed in a local collapse of a cloud in the solar nebula. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko)

The uniform color and composition of Arrokoth’s surface shows the Kuiper Belt object formed from a small, uniform, cloud of material in the solar nebula, rather than a mishmash of matter from more separated parts of the nebula. The former supports the idea that Arrokoth formed in a local collapse of a cloud in the solar nebula. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft discovers new Cyclone on Jupiter

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says Jupiter’s south pole has a new cyclone. The discovery of the massive Jovian tempest occurred on November 3rd, 2019, during the most recent data-gathering flyby of Jupiter by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. It was the 22nd flyby during which the solar-powered spacecraft collected science data on the gas giant, soaring only 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) above its cloud tops.

The flyby also marked a victory for the mission team, whose innovative measures kept the solar-powered spacecraft clear of what could have been a mission-ending eclipse.

A new, smaller cyclone can be seen at the lower right of this infrared image of Jupiter's south pole taken on November 4th, 2019, during the 23rd science pass of the planet by NASA's Juno spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM)

A new, smaller cyclone can be seen at the lower right of this infrared image of Jupiter’s south pole taken on November 4th, 2019, during the 23rd science pass of the planet by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM)

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NASA’s Lucy Mission completes Critcal Design Review

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On Friday, October 18th, 2019,  NASA’s Lucy mission successfully completed its Critical Design Review.

During this review, Lucy team members presented the completed mission design, demonstrating that the team has met all the technical challenges of the mission and is ready to begin building hardware. After the review completion, NASA’s independent review board provided a green light for proceeding into the fabrication/manufacturing stage of the mission.

Artist's concept of Lucy Mission. (SwRI)

Artist’s concept of Lucy Mission. (SwRI)

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