Juno Spacecraft Is Rewriting What We Know About Jupiter

“Every way we have looked, we have been shocked by what we’ve seen.”

By Paul FlahiveMarch 1, 2017 9:30 am, , ,

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From Texas Public Radio:

This is what Jupiter sounds like.

These creepy noises are radio waves detected by the Juno spacecraft in August. While these screeching sounds shock the ears, what NASA is discovering from the spacecraft about Jupiter is Earth shattering.

“Or Jupiter shattering, I should say,” says Scott Bolton, principle investigator for the Juno Mission and associate vice president of Research and Development for the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

He says Juno’s launch five years ago launched a renewed interest in the giant planet with theories on what they would find when the spacecraft settled into orbit last July 4th.

“Maybe they’ll see this? Maybe Juno will see that, but none of them have been as out of the box as what we are seeing,” says Bolton

For instance, Bolton points to Jupiter’s core. Many models predicted a rocky core of heavy elements about the mass of Earth, but after a couple of orbits it became clear the core was not what they thought.

“We don’t see anything that looks like a core. There may be a core of heavy elements in there, but it might not be all concentrated in the middle. So that was the first picture that started to go out the window. And we started to say, you know, what would the core be like? Maybe it’s much larger? Maybe it’s half the size of Jupiter? How could that be?” Bolton asks.

The spacecraft is also studying the magnetosphere, which creates Jupiter’s massive aurora’s that are bigger than the plant Earth. The protective layer is stronger than anyone had anticipated.

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