Wednesday June 19, 2019

NASA’s Juno spacecraft to make its Fifth flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious Cloud Tops

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Jupiter, Source: NASA

Washington, March 26, 2017: NASA said its Juno spacecraft will make its fifth flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops on Monday.

At the time of closest approach, Juno will be about 4,400 km above the planet’s cloud tops, moving at a speed of about 57.8 km per second relative to the gas-giant planet.

All of Juno’s eight science instruments will be on and collecting data during the flyby.

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“This will be our fourth science pass — the fifth close flyby of Jupiter of the mission — and we are excited to see what new discoveries Juno will reveal,” said Scott Bolton, Principal Investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, US.

“Every time we get near Jupiter’s cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet,” Bolton said in a statement.

Launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Juno arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet’s cloud tops.

During these flybys, Juno probes beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

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The Juno science team continues to analyse returns from previous flybys. Scientists have discovered that Jupiter’s magnetic fields are more complicated than originally thought, and that the belts and zones that give the planet’s cloud tops their distinctive look extend deep into the its interior.

Observations of the energetic particles that create the incandescent auroras suggest a complicated current system involving charged material lofted from volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io.

Peer-reviewed papers with more in-depth science results from Juno’s first flybys are expected to be published within the next few months, NASA said. (IANS)

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NASA: Sending Back Astronauts to Moon in 2024 Could Cost About $30 Billion

The entire project will be framed as a practice run for a future mission to Mars

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NASA, mars
NASA, which has dubbed its current lunar programme Artemis (after Apollo's twin sister, the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and the moon), plans to send one male and one female astronaut to the moon in 2024. VOA

Returning astronauts to the moon in 2024 could cost about $30 billion, or roughly the same price tag as the Apollo 11 spaceflight when factoring in inflation, NASA has said.

“For the whole programme, to get a sustainable presence on the moon, we’re looking at between $20 and $30 billion,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a TV interview on Friday, though noting that that figure does not include money already spent on the rocket and space capsule the agency plans to use for the programme, Efe news reported.

The total cost of the Apollo programme that the US launched in 1961 and concluded in 1972 was $25 billion. The climax of that programme came nearly 50 years ago when two astronauts landed on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission, which cost $6 billion at the time, equivalent to $30 billion today.

nasa, moon
Then one male astronaut and – for the first time – a female astronaut would set foot on the lunar surface in 2024. Pixabay

NASA, which has dubbed its current lunar programme Artemis (after Apollo’s twin sister, the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and the moon), plans to send one male and one female astronaut to the moon in 2024.

Bridenstine recalled that the main difference between the Apollo programme and the Artemis program is that the former culminated with brief stays on the moon while the latter will entail a permanent human presence there.

The plan will involve the recruitment of private companies and international partners, the construction of a lunar space station and manned landings at the moon’s south pole within five years.

NASA, moon
That rocket will send into orbit a new spacecraft known as Orion, whose lead contractor is Lockheed Martin. VOA

The entire project will be framed as a practice run for a future mission to Mars. The programme includes an unmanned mission around the moon in 2020 and a manned mission that also will orbit the moon two years later. Then one male astronaut and – for the first time – a female astronaut would set foot on the lunar surface in 2024.

ALSO READ: NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover, Latest Robotic Mission to Explore Ancient Life on Red Planet

The three lunar missions will be delivered into space by the Space Launch System, a rocket being developed by NASA and Boeing that will be the largest ever built once it is fully assembled. That rocket will send into orbit a new spacecraft known as Orion, whose lead contractor is Lockheed Martin.

Besides these missions exclusively handled by NASA, five other launches will be carried out to place in lunar orbit the components for construction of the Gateway mini-space station, which will serve as a staging post for moon landings. Those five missions between 2022 and 2024 will be operated by private companies, according to NASA’s plans. (IANS)