Saturday, July 16, 2016


After a five year journey from Earth, NASA sends another robotic spacecraft to the Planet Jupiter . Named Juno the solar-powered spacecraft squeezed through a narrow band. We are at Jupiter again still trying to figure out what the giant planet is made of , even after so many missions we still don't know ? I love science , but some times I have a bone to pick with some NASA projects . This mission is though "great" to see another probe around Jupiter . In truth its really a "repeat" of a two previous missions to that planet that provided NASA scientists with enough information about the planet .As Juno goes into orbit around Jupiter, I was thinking about our support of space exploration. Personally I support the search for knowledge for knowledge's sake, the quest to learn more about the origin of the universe, the solar system, earth, and mankind. It's a basic human yearning and need. So my inclination is to support these undertakings. BUT, and these are big " buts", you have to hesitate and seriously consider the ethical issues raised by spending over a billion dollars on a space mission like this when so many people lack food, potable water, and basic medicine. And second, I believe that if you're going to do this you have to pay for it. You have to raise sufficient taxes and manage spending to balance the budget before you spend piles of money on things like this. It is indefensible to say "we're spending a billion dollars to explore the environs of Jupiter but we're just going to borrow the money and leave it to our grandchildren or later to pay the bills for this." All that said, at this point I certainly hope the mission succeeds and we learn dramatic new information. Personally I wish that Juno would have been a mission to study the satellites of Jupiter , rather than just the planet . The Juno mission is a waste. For many years, Juno has been touted as NASA's "low cost" mission to the Jovian system. As a New Frontiers mission, it is cost capped at only $1 billion. From its launch in August 2011 to its arrival at Jupiter in July 2016, it spends nearly 5 years in space. Yet, despite all this cost and time, it will only spend a single year orbiting and studying Jupiter. The Juno mission is set to conclude in October 2017, after completing 33 orbits around Jupiter, when the probe will be de-orbited to burn up in Jupiter's outer atmosphere. Why waste all that effort, money, and time, on a single year long mission? It does not appear to be due to the radiation environment around Jupiter . We know already that Jupiter is a massive ball of gas. It is sometimes described as a "failed star" or a mini star. If it had been about 80 times more massive, it would have become a star, rather than a planet. Its composition is similar to "our star," the sun. It consists largely of hydrogen and helium. So what else do we need to know about ? I once read that Jupiter's core is hydrogen, under such pressure that it has metallic properties. Is this why hydrogen stands alone on the periodic table. It's a lifeless , but nothing can be ruled out . One of the NASA scientists tweeted something I found funny , Earlier in the day, before 
First images from Juno spacecraft .
Juno approached 
Jupiter, Scott Bolton said: “As you can tell it’s not easy for NASA to get he answers that humanity is seeking here.” But now it looks like they’re much closer to doing so. Sounds a bit that some scientists are overzealous . I would if could  have re designed  this mission to have been a bit more ambitious like the (1)>>Saturn Cassini mission , which has proved more valuable as part of exploration rather than a one shot suicide mission of the Juno program .  NASA said the mission team is now turning on all the probe's instruments to check their status before work to study Jupiter begins in October.It is expected that mid-way through October Juno will be put in a 14-day orbit around the planet - before at least 30 revolutions, with many passes, getting under 3,100m from its clouds.It will fly 3,000 miles closer to the surface than any other mission has ever achieved.Once the mission is over, Juno will dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere and burn up to avoid accidentally crashing onto one of the planet’s moons.
What we learned already.
Launched in September 1977, Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter in March 1979, taking more than 18,000 images of the gas giant and its satellites. The vehicle made its closest approach at a distance of about 217,000 miles (349,000 kilometers) of the planet's center. Among Voyager's discoveries was the presence of volcanic activity on Jupiter's moon Io. It's sister probe ,Voyager 2 was launched in August 1977, before its twin spacecraft Voyager 1, but actually reached Jupiter later, in April 1979. It took just as many detailed photos of the Jovian system as its sibling, and helped discover three new moons as well as a small ring around Jupiter. Galileo was the first mission sent to orbit Jupiter. The vehicle launched in October 1989 and arrived in orbit around the planet in December 1995. While in orbit, Galileo dropped a probe down to the surface that measured the temperature, wind speeds and pressure of Jupiter's atmosphere as it descended.Galileo's mission was extended to study Jupiter's moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and it revealed a trove of secrets about these satellites, including the presence of a salty ocean under Europa's surface and an iron core and magnetic field on Ganymede.Galileo studied Jupiter until 2003, when it was decommissioned and sent on a suicide mission to crash into Jupiter's surface in order to avoid contaminating any of the Jovian moons with bacteria from Earth. Experts say Juno is just the latest example of how NASA’s high-tech research efforts trickle down into our daily lives in beneficial ways.

(1)>>Saturn Cassini mission. The Cassini-Saturn mission was the most advanced craft ever sent on a long range mission at 1 billion miles away . The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. The mission is known for discoveries such as finding jets of water erupting from Enceladus, and tracking down a few new moons for Saturn. Now low on fuel, the spacecraft will make a suicidal plunge into the ringed planet in 2017 and capture some data about Saturn's interior on the way. (This will avoid the possibility of Cassini some day crashing on to a potentially habitable icy moon, such as Enceladus or Rhea.)Perhaps Cassini's most detailed look came after releasing the Huygens lander towards Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Huygens descended through the mysterious haze surrounding the moon and landed on Jan. 14, 2005.It beamed information back to Earth for nearly 2.5 hours during its descent, and then continued to relay what it was seeing from the surface for 1 hour, 12 minutes.In that brief window of time, researchers saw pictures of a rock field and got information back about the moon's wind and gases on the atmosphere and the surface.

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