US, May 26, 2017: Scientists looking at the first pictures of the planet Jupiter sent by the NASA probe Juno were shocked at what they saw: monster cyclones, hundreds of kilometers wide, tearing across the planet’s north and south poles.
The scientists said the poles are nothing like the planet’s familiar placid and colorful equatorial region.
“That’s the Jupiter we’ve all known and grown to love,” Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute, an applied research and development organization in San Antonio, Texas, said in an article released Thursday in the journal Science. “And when you look from the pole, it looks totally different. … I don’t think anybody would have guessed this is Jupiter.”
Bolton called the findings “Earth-shattering. Or, should I say, Jupiter-shattering.
Along with the fierce storms, the researchers saw a huge river of ammonia gas extending from Jupiter’s deep atmosphere down to its interior. They said they thought the ammonia might be part of what’s causing the huge storms.
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NASA had launched Juno in 2011, and it reached Jupiter’s orbit last year. The scientists said that Juno’s next fly-by would come in July, when it will take pictures of the planet’s trademark Great Red Spot — a huge, hurricane-like storm that experts say has been raging for hundreds of years. (VOA)
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After a mechanical problem took NASA Mars rover Curiosity’s drill offline in December 2016, it has now successfully tested a new drilling method on the Red Planet, making a 50-millimetre deep hole in a target called “Duluth”, NASA has said.
Engineers working with the Curiosity Mars rover have been hard at work testing a new way for the rover to drill rocks and extract powder from them.
On May 20, that effort produced the first drilled sample on Mars in more than a year, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The new technique, called Feed Extended Drilling, keeps the drill’s bit extended out past two stabiliser posts that were originally used to steady the drill against Martian rocks.
It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home.
“The team used tremendous ingenuity to devise a new drilling technique and implement it on another planet,” said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Steve Lee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“Those are two vital inches of innovation from 60 million miles away. We’re thrilled that the result was so successful,” Lee said.
Drilling is a vitally important part of Curiosity’s capabilities to study Mars.
Inside the rover are two laboratories that are able to conduct chemical and mineralogical analyses of rock and soil samples.
The samples are acquired from Gale Crater, which the rover has been exploring since 2012.
“We’ve been developing this new drilling technique for over a year, but our job isn’t done once a sample has been collected on Mars,” said JPL’s Tom Green, a systems engineer who helped develop and test Curiosity’s new drilling method.