Solar Powered Juno Spacecraft to Make Multiple Histories

Juno Spacecraft

It’s difficult to figure out the competency of solar technology. Juno, the first of its kind solar spacecraft is speculated to reach Jupiter on July 4 this year.

Why it’s unique because Jupiter is five times farther from the Sun than Earth, and the sunlight that reaches that far out packs 25 times less punch,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno’s project manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

“While our massive solar arrays will be generating only 500 watts when we are at Jupiter, Juno is very efficiently designed, and it will be more than enough to get the job done,” he asserted.

How Solar Power is Possible in a spacecraft?

  • Solar power is possible on Juno due to improved solar cell performance and energy-efficient instruments.
  • The spacecraft is designed in a unique way which can avoid Jupiter’s shadow, and a polar orbit that minimizes the total radiation. Over the next year, the spacecraft will orbit the Jovian world 33 times.
  • During the flybys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study Jupiter’s aurorae to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
  • The previous record-holder was the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, whose orbit peaked out at the 792 million km mark in October 2012, during its approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

 

“We use every known technique to see through Jupiter’s clouds and reveal the secrets Jupiter holds of our solar system’s early history. It just seems right that the Sun is helping us learn about the origin of Jupiter and the other planets that orbit it,” he explained.

The Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4 this year. It will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming only 5,000 km from the cloud tops at closest approach.

Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft designed to operate at such a great distance from the Sun. The four-ton Juno spacecraft carries three 30-foot-long solar arrays festooned with 18,698 individual solar cells.

“Jupiter is five times farther from the Sun than Earth, and the sunlight that reaches that far out packs 25 times less punch,” added Rick Nybakken, Juno’s project manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

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