Monday, July 4, 2016

O/T Planetary Science: White Knuckle Time At JPL/NASA -- Until After Midnight Tonight, Eastern

UPDATE @ 10:55 CDT: Insertion burn is nearly complete. . . 5 minutes to go. . . . And now we have main engine cutoff. . . Juno is in a stable orbit around Jupiter!

In about an hour, there will a live NASA TV pre-briefing -- 12 hours ahead of the hoped-for insertion success radio tone, from Juno.

We will watch, and let you know if anything off-kilter, or fundamentally surprising transpires. And we will be here, again, at sround 11 PM CDT tonight, awaiting that very same success tone. Exciting times, indeed. Here's a link to the mission's homepage -- and the latest press-kit. Will Jupiter's spititual spouse, Juno, be able to peer through his mysterious clouds -- and plumb his true soul? We shall see.

. . . .From a unique polar orbit, Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming only about 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) from the cloud tops at closest approach.

Juno's primary goal is to improve our understanding of Jupiter's formation and evolution. The spacecraft will investigate the planet's origins, interior structure, deep atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Juno's study of Jupiter will help us to understand the history of our own solar system and provide new insight into how planetary systems form and develop in our galaxy and beyond. . . .

Enjoy your Fourth, one and all. I know we will here -- on a likely historic day for planetary space science, and the spirit of exploration -- Sweet Will's "undiscovered country. . ." Smile.

Animation: Jupiter radiation model with Juno's path from JPLraw on Vimeo.

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