Thursday, August 25, 2016

O/T Space Science: NASA's Juno To Dive Just Above Jovian Polar Cloudtops Saturday Morning...

This too (just like the July 4 orbital insertion) may be a white-knuckle ride -- as this first closest range dip will splatter the Juno craft with radioactive particles moving at near light speed -- and likely at least a few microscopic sized "mini-projectiles", traveling at perhaps a tenth of light speed. At those speeds, and at the right angle of attack, a particle could penetrate the titanium strong box and wreak havoc with the electronics. Not likely, but possible.

So, we will hold a good thought, along with the hot coffee in our coffee mugs, bright and early Saturday. Grin. About this time next week we will see our first high res images of the raging storms at the polar vortex of Jupiter. Whoosh. Here is the NASA mission page update:

. . . .This Saturday at 5:51 a.m. PDT, (8:51 a.m. EDT, 12:51 UTC) NASA's Juno spacecraft will get closer to the cloud tops of Jupiter than at any other time during its prime mission. At the moment of closest approach, Juno will be about 2,500 miles (4,200 kilometers) above Jupiter's swirling clouds and traveling at 130,000 mph (208,000 kilometers per hour) with respect to the planet. There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter scheduled during its prime mission (scheduled to end in February of 2018). The Aug. 27 flyby will be the first time Juno will have its entire suite of science instruments activated and looking at the giant planet as the spacecraft zooms past.

"This is the first time we will be close to Jupiter since we entered orbit on July 4," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Back then we turned all our instruments off to focus on the rocket burn to get Juno into orbit around Jupiter. Since then, we have checked Juno from stem to stern and back again. We still have more testing to do, but we are confident that everything is working great, so for this upcoming flyby Juno's eyes and ears, our science instruments, will all be open. . . ."

Onward then -- listening to Live -- "Dolphin's Cry" -- on a walk home; then get a couple of good nights' sleep, and rise early Saturday -- for some biking, before fly-bys. Smile. Be excellent to one another.


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