Journey to Jupiter produces remarkable images This Aug. 27, 2016 image provided by NASA shows Jupiter's north polar region, taken by the Juno spacecraft 120,000 miles (195,000 kilometers) away from the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS via AP)
Journey to Jupiter produces remarkable images
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A NASA spacecraft has captured the best views of Jupiter yet. The views revealed turbulent storms in the planet's north pole.
 
Jupiter's northern polar region is stormier than expected and appears bluer than the rest of the planet. This is according to mission chief scientist Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
 
"This image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter," he said in a statement.
 
On September 2, NASA released a batch of close-up pictures taken by the Juno spacecraft when it recently flew within 2,500 miles of Jupiter's dense cloud tops.
 
During the rendezvous that took Juno from pole to pole, the solar-powered spacecraft turned on its camera and instruments to collect data.
 
The first glimpse of Jupiter's poles came in 1974 when Pioneer 11 flew by on its way to Saturn.
 
The detailed pictures taken by Juno look "like nothing we have seen or imagined before," Bolton said.
 
Juno also sent back unique views of Jupiter's bright southern lights. They are considered the most powerful in the solar system.
 
The flyby was the first of three dozen planned close passes during the 20-month mission.
 
Unlike rocky Earth and Mars, Jupiter is a gas giant. It likely formed before Earth and Mars, shortly after the sun. Studying the largest planet in the solar system may hold clues to understanding how Earth and the rest of the planets formed.
 
After a five-year journey, Juno slipped into orbit around Jupiter in July. Juno will map the massive planet's poles, atmosphere and interior. It's the first spacecraft to carry a titanium vault. The vault is designed to shield its computer and electronics from intense radiation.
 
Juno is only the second mission to orbit Jupiter. When it completes its job in 2018, it will deliberately crash into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrate. NASA planned the finale so that Juno won't accidentally smack into Jupiter's moons, particularly the icy moon Europa, a target of future exploration.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the spacecraft solar powered?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (26)
  • jcharles-dav
    9/08/2016 - 06:58 p.m.

    In response to Journey to jupiter I disagree that we should use solar power. I dont think it will suffice the fuel that will be needed. I get it that they will use fuel to first take off but then what. Out there near jupiter the sun is far away unlike earth. So I think it needs some back up regular fuel. So it can make it to the planet.

  • monserrator-ric
    9/08/2016 - 07:59 p.m.

    The first glimpse of Jupiters poles came in 1974 when Pioneer 11 flew by on its way to Saturn. A nasa spacecraft has captured the best views of Jupiters. And that after a five year journey, juno slipped into oribt all around in july.

  • senem-eat
    9/09/2016 - 09:05 a.m.

    There are many good reasons why Pioneer 11 is solar powered. One reason is because of how many resources and space it would take up for batteries chargers Etc. Also because since it is so close to the sun it is very easy to keep it running and charged.

  • kirstenw-pav
    9/13/2016 - 10:07 a.m.

    I find it very interesting how Jupiter was formed before the earth, and shortly after the sun. Now, scientists have found clues on how earth and other planets were formed. This has been a mystery since the beginning of life.

  • emmas1-pav
    9/14/2016 - 09:56 a.m.

    I think spacecraft is solar powered because some planets are close to the sun, and the sun's light never runs out unlike it does when it's nighttime on Earth, so I think solar-powered spacecraft is a very good idea.

  • ibrahimp-bla
    9/15/2016 - 10:14 a.m.

    Cool! When Juno takes great pictures of Jupiter we can explore more. I cant believe that picture is real. like the article said Jupiter is bigger than earth so we can discover things about our solar system. I cant wait till 2018!

  • audreyj-bla
    9/15/2016 - 11:35 a.m.

    I believe the space craft is solar powered because they had no way to charge it in space. They cant just plug it into an outlet and wait for it to charge like an ipnohe. But anyways, there is so much light on Jupiter from the sun that it would constantly stay charged, easy right? Plus, if they used a battery it would eventually die out. batteries don't last for 20 months. With solar power they wouldn't be wasting any money with big batteries and then just destroying the entire spacecraft. That would be a waste of energy and money. Solar panels constantly charge so you wont have to worry about it dying unless it accidentally crashes. That is why I believe NASA made the spacecraft solar powered.

  • cartert-bla
    9/15/2016 - 01:08 p.m.

    The spacecraft is solar powered because while the spacecraft is in orbit, the battery could not get replaced or recharged.Using solar power was a good idea because it could use energy from the sun, to power it up for a very long time.While using energy from sun, it can take many great pictures.This will help us know more about Jupiter.

  • kristas-bla
    9/15/2016 - 01:11 p.m.

    This article is about how Jupiter is changing. Now there is a huge storm on its north pole. Jupiter has never looked like this before. Space crafts have flown past Jupiter before and it has ever looked like this. Now a robot, Juno, is going to orbit around Jupiter to monitor its atmosphere and interior. I think the Jupiter's north pole looks beautiful and could be a screen saver on a phone.

  • chasev-bla
    9/16/2016 - 09:33 a.m.

    I think that the spacecraft Juno is solar powered because NASA wanted the spacecraft to get as many pictures as it could. Since Juno is solar powered it could stay in space longer due to how close it is to the sun. If Juno wasn't solar powered it wouldn't last as long.

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