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NASA Juno Probe Launched To Study Jupiter (With Lego Minifigures On Board)

Question asked by Ankita Katdare in #Coffee Room on Aug 5, 2011
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare · Aug 5, 2011
Rank A1 - PRO
NASA successfully launched one of its brave projects, the unmanned Juno Probe through Atlas 5 rocket, which is a first of its kind solar-powered mission venturing this far away from the Sun. The launch happened on Friday at 12:25 (local time) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This $1.1 billion breakthrough project will go beyond Mars and reach Jupiter in 2016 to study the planet’s deep atmosphere, gravity field, magnetic field and polar magnetosphere.

This major project pushes the boundaries of the engineering frontiers to dwell in the exploration of the mysteries of the space that project intense environments and demands the vulnerable scientific tools to sustain it all & do the ultra-sensitive job aptly. The launch of the spacecraft by NASA takes one leap forward in this direction & would soon tell if this is the toughest spacecraft ever built.

Though Jupiter receives only 1/25th of the sunlight that Earth receives, Juno's three wings are covered with about 18,000 solar cells. That information would surely raise some eyebrows. This means Juno can never go intro Jupiter's shadow.

[​IMG]

In order to protect the spacecraft’s controls that are made up of special materials to sustain severe radiation levels & electric charge, engineers have built a 'titanium radiation vault'. Moreover, it's been said that Juno's design is quite different from typical spacecrafts. Juno’s microwave radiometer, which will study the planet’s water abundance so as to form theories about how the planet coalesced from the cloud of dust that also formed the Sun and the rest of the solar system, is separated from its receiver, so now it requires long radio frequency lines to transmit data. When Juno will reach Jupiter, it will maneuver through space at the speed of 134,000 miles an hour making it one of the fastest spacecraft ever.

“We can’t look at our earliest history by looking at ourselves. What we’re trying to do is discover the recipe for planets. The approach is to start with getting the ingredient list, and that’s what Jupiter represents to us.” said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator and director of the space science department at Southwest Research Institute.

On a side note, news has it that the spacecraft contains 3 Lego mini-figures, that were specially created for this project for $5,000 each and who will share the same fate as the craft — a fiery death falling through Jupiter’s atmosphere once Juno’s mission is complete. The 3 lego pieces each resemble a person significant for this mission.
<ul>
[*]Jupiter - The Roman Thunder God that gives the planet it's name.
[*]Juno - Jupiter's sister after whom the mission is named.
[*]Galileo - The legendary astronomer who was the first to observe Jupiter’s moons.
</ul>
[​IMG]

Lego has given the Jupiter minifigure a lightning bolt to hold,  Juno a magnifying glass to signify her search through the truth and Galileo a tiny sphere resembling the planet Jupiter. Yeah, crazy things we do!

Check out the launch video:

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Via: PopSci and PCmag Posted in: #Coffee Room

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