Very recently, science made just another first in its long history. A mission that started five years ago, is finally officially starting. That is, that NASA's Juno probe has finally entered the atmosphere of Juno and will continue to get closer to the planet's surface, in order to provide mankind with a bit more insight on the solar system's largest member.
According to Space.Com, Juno carries with her nine scientific instruments, which were not turned on when she entered Jupiter's atmosphere. This was done in order to reduce complications during Juno's entrance into the orbit. But on July 6, five of those instruments were opened and the other four are expected to open before the end of the month. Therefore, Juno is scheduled to gather very vital information by August 27, which is when Juno's next close pass will be.
"Next time around, we will have our eyes and ears open," says Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator.
Indeed, Juno's mission has endless possibilities at this point. After all, Telegraph notes that this mission has many scientists at the edge of their seats. In fact, the publication paints a very colorful and heartwarming image: researchers and scientists jumping up and down in joy as mission control commentator, Jennifer Delavan, said, "Welcome to Jupiter."
Juno is an immense investment and scientists hope to answer three particular questions:
1. The presence of a solid body beneath the storm clouds
Jupiter is sometimes viewable, even by the naked eye, from Earth - it is just that large. However, man has never been able to see what is beyond the planet's ever present cloak of storm clouds. It has been theorized that Jupiter has a solid surface beneath these clouds, which is reason for Jupiter's strong magnetosphere.
2. The exact makeup of Jupiter's atmosphere
Some years ago, another NASA mission, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, recorded some volcanic activity from Jupiter. The planet's composition is also known to have sulphur, nitrogen and other noble gases. But Juno's on board instruments are sure to refine the knowledge on the same.
3. The creation and history of Jupiter
Juno's presence in Jupiter may also provide more insight to how and when the planet was formed. After all, it is believed that Jupiter is a planet created from gases and resulted right after the Sun was created. In fact, one popular theory is that Jupiter once resided very close to the Sun and only travelled further as the years went on.