NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Successfully Enters Jupiter’s Orbit
A team of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists may not have been able to enjoy fireworks this July 4, but they did witness something historic: NASA's Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter's orbit.
Artist rendition of Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter.Photo credit: NASA
The main goal of the Juno expedition, launched almost five years ago on Aug. 5, 2011, is to "understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter," according to the mission's statement. While Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, little is known about it. Juno spacecraft is set to orbit the planet 37 times over the next 20 months.
"Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America's birthday another reason to cheer—Juno is at Jupiter," NASA administrator Charlie Bolden said in a press release. "And what is more American than a NASA mission going boldly where no spacecraft has gone before? With Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter's massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet's interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved."
Teamwork❤️! From #Jupiter to Earth: thanks, team for guiding me into orbit. And now… SCIENCE https://t.co/4tR0S3XwyD https://t.co/17Bia2UTkR— NASA's Juno Mission (@NASA's Juno Mission)1467697027.0
NASA's Juno spacecraft entered the large planet's atmosphere after a 35-minute engine burn, which decreased the spacecraft's velocity by 1,212 miles per hour, the administration reported. News that the burn had completed was received at 11:53 p.m. EDT Monday.
A time-lapse video captures Juno's view of Jupiter beginning when the spacecraft was 10 million miles away from the planet and ending when it was 3 million miles away.
"This is the one time I don't mind being stuck in a windowless room on the night of the 4th of July," Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said. "The mission team did great. The spacecraft did great. We are looking great. It's a great day."
Juno's trip around Jupiter will be powered by 18,698 individual solar cells on the spacecraft.
With an array of science instruments, Juno will:
- Investigate the existence of a solid planetary core
- Map Jupiter's magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet's deep structure (The video below shows Juno coming in contact with the boundary of Jupiter's magnetic field on June 24.)
- Measure the amount of water in Jupiter's atmosphere, which will help determine which planet formation theory is correct or if new theories need to be explored
- Measure the planet's atmosphere composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties, such as the amount of ammonia present
- Explore and study Jupiter's magnetosphere near the planet's poles, especially the auroras—Jupiter's northern and southern lights—which will provide insights about how the planet's enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere
Jupiter's auroras captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.Photo credit: NASA
Information discovered about the giant planet will help scientists understand how Jupiter and others like it formed and what role they played in putting together the rest of our solar system.
Over the next couple months scientists will perform final calibrations and tests of the spacecraft's subsystems, NASA said, before officially beginning to collect data in October.
"Our official science collection phase begins in October, but we've figured out a way to collect data a lot earlier than that," Bolton said. "Which when you're talking about the single biggest planetary body in the solar system is a really good thing. There is a lot to see and do here."
Juno isn't the first spacecraft to reach Jupiter; several have flown past the giant planet, beginning with Pioneer 10 in 1973, NASA said. The Galileo spacecraft entered Jupiter's orbit in 1995, sending back data showing Jupiter's strong, turbulent winds and details about the planet's atmospheric composition. Juno, unlike Galileo, will pass over Jupiter's poles, providing scientists with a first look at those regions.
The Juno mission is the second spacecraft designed under NASA's New Frontiers Program. The first is the Pluto New Horizons mission, which flew by the dwarf planet in July 2015 after an almost 10-year flight.
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By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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