Science

NASA to fly Juno craft over Jupiter storm

NASA to fly Juno craft over Jupiter storm”

NASA has calculated that 11 minutes later Juno will be directly above Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

Juno is a rotating spacecraft launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in August 2011 to orbit Jupiter 33 times in a bid to discover more about the planet's formation and evolution.

The most distinctive feature of the largest planet in our solar system will get its first close-up inspection by a NASA spacecraft later today with instruments onboard built at the University of Iowa.

"Jupiter´s mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter", said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

Nasa's Juno spacecraft is set make history as it flies over Jupiter's iconic Great Red Spot for the first time ever.

NASA's Juno spacecraft is scheduled to pass directly over the spot after 10 p.m. ET on Monday, July 10, some 5,600 miles above Jupiter's cloud tops. All of Juno's instruments, including the JunoCam, will be on for the rare opportunity to collect more information about a spot that has piqued humans' curiosity for centuries. "We'll be curious to see whether there's lightning coming from the Great Red Spot or around it". It's huge, larger than Earth in diameter.

The data collection of the Great Red Spot is part of Juno's sixth science flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops. Scientists still don't know enough about the storm or what gives it the reddish color, even though several have conducted lab experiments that simulate Jupiter's atmosphere to try to pinpoint an explanation. During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. So how is a single massive storm able to keep churning for centuries? "It's bigger than the Earth". "No scientists really understand exactly how that storm is created or why it could last so long".

"Jupiter is stunning when you get near it", he says.

"It's possible that the roots are quite deep", says Bolton. They should be worth the wait. "I expect that this Great Red Spot might be a piece of art".



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