NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter: What’s Inside the Giant Planet?

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 4:00pm

CTQM Seminar Type: 

  • Related Seminar Series

Speaker Name(s): 

Fran Bagenal

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Colorado, Boulder

Abstract, Event Details: 

Jupiter is a planet of superlatives: the most massive planet in the solar system, rotates the fastest, has the strongest magnetic field, and has the most extensive satellite system of any planet. NASA’s Juno mission was launched in August 2011 and went into orbit over Jupiter’s poles on July 4th this summer.  Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars. With its suite of science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras. Juno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system. In Greek and Roman mythology, Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief. It was Jupiter’s wife, the goddess Juno, who was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter’s true nature.  Juno is also the first spacecraft to fly over Jupiter’s aurora and will measure both the energetic particles raining down on the planet and the bright “northern & southern lights” they excite.