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NASA's Juno Blasts Off To Investigate Jupiter

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the already-looking-forward-to-the-pretty-pictures dept.

NASA 34

coondoggie writes "NASA shot its 4-ton Juno spacecraft into the cosmos today with the ultimate goal of learning everything we can about the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. Juno, once described as a flying armored tank, will take five years to reach its destination, slated to arrive at Jupiter in August 2016." NASA has an explanation of the steps involved in getting Juno through the launch, and an animated film explaining the mission. The mission website has streaming video of Juno's progress, and NASA's press kit explains the goals and the spacecraft in detail (PDF).

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Wish my wife would blast off to investigate Jupite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36998600)

That fat cow just sits around the house while I work. Doesn't even clean. Probably would exceed NASA's heavy lift capabilities, though.

Re:Wish my wife would blast off to investigate Jup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36998622)

I call shenanigans, Since when is any Slashdotter married?

Re:Wish my wife would blast off to investigate Jup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36998734)

There is two types of slashdotters, those without girlfriends and those without girlfriends.

That Anonymous Coward is one of those who have no girlfriend.

A pedant writes (2)

00_NOP (559413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36998652)

If it wasn't in the cosmos until today, where was it?

Re:A pedant writes (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36998738)

As long as we are complaining about semantics, what size of cannot did they use to shoot it?

Re:A pedant writes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36998776)

Wherever the back of my sock drawer leads.

I'm fairly certain there's a path to Narnia back there, but I can't fit inside to check.

WAKE ME UP WHEN IT GETS THERE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36998654)

Then maybe we can look at s'more pictures of the thing !!

One small step for man... (3, Funny)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 3 years ago | (#36998658)

Re:One small step for man... (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36998784)

There were Lego pieces sent to Mars as well; aboard the MER rovers Spirit, and Opportunity. They have been on shuttle launches, and aboard the ISS. Lego has a long history of going into space.

Re:One small step for man... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36998866)

Since we no longer have any way to get people into space, this is the only way they can claim anything like manned space flight. Even if the new "men" are "action figures" (don't call them dolls). These "action figures" will soon gain enough "rights", that they will be able to lay claim on any planets they land on.

Re:One small step for man... (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999616)

When I was a kid, I had a G. I. Joe "action figure" with a Mercury capsule and a space suit. It seems that he would be ready to go right now!

Although, considering what that toy is worth today, I would never consider blasting it into space.

Re:One small step for man... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37000962)

Frankly /kicks on reverb and echo/ "MEATBAGS IN SPAAAAAACE!" /end effects/ is a fucking stupid idea. Our engine tech just isn't far enough along to make meatbags in space worth doing, meatbags need shields and shitters and food and a place to sleep, they are fussy little critters.

When we are broke as a joke, fighting THREE WARS while the teabaggers demand "No taxes on teh rich LOL!" frankly it is THIS, this right here, that NASA SHOULD be doing. For less than the cost of keeping meatbags in LEO for a month you have a device that is gonna give us insane amounts of data that will help us learn more about the solar system. let the BRIC send meatbags, we've been there, done that. let NASA do what it does the best, which is robots and probes. look how much data we got out of the rovers! How much extra time did we get out of those?

When we develop engines to where we can actually get meatbags to Mars and back without needing to haul the Empire State building in food and fuel behind the thing THEN we can worry about...MEATBAGS IN SPAAAACE!" but until then lets let NASA keep going down this path. We have affordable probes designed to do set missions, everything comes in under budget and mostly on time. We try dealing with meatbags it become a money black hole as Con. Kickbackus and Sen. Porkstein try to "bring hom teh bacon!" by having the damned thing split into a thousand jobs, it ALL comes in waaay over budget, its just a damned mess is what it is.

What we have going with NASA now is great. It is efficient, it gets us mountains of data and video, teaches us about places that would take years for a meatbag to visit, if we could afford to build a craft big enough to carry one that far out, all in all it seems like a damned good setup that Con kickbackus and Sen. porkstein seem to be ignoring so lets not fix what ain't broke, okay?

This is a good mission (4, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36998748)

This is the first major mission to Jupiter since Galileo which was launched in 1989. Unlike Galileo this won't be focusing on the moons as much (which is sort of too bad since they are some of the most interesting things about Jupiter since they might harbor life.) Also, as TFA discusses, this has a lot of stuff to help deal with the high radiation which hasn't been used before. Seeing how exactly that technology works will help out a lot with future probes to high radiation or high magnetic field environments. One other nice thing about this is that we might get more information about the core which is currently hypothesized to be metalic hydrogen because the hydrogen is just under such high pressure that it becomes a solid, and that's freaking awesome.

Re:This is a good mission (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36998762)

Juno a lot about this mission.

Re:This is a good mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36999634)

Well played sir/madam. Well played.

Re:This is a good mission (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999010)

Also, as TFA discusses, this has a lot of stuff to help deal with the high radiation which hasn't been used before. Seeing how exactly that technology works will help out a lot with future probes to high radiation or high magnetic field environments.

    We already know that, we have been launching rad-hard spacecraft for 3 decades now. They used a good approach - brute force shielding. That allows them to use relatively weak but high-performance parts (and presumably, less expensive parts). Titanium is not the best shielding/weight ratio material (tantalum would have worked better) but it's also relatively cheap.

        It's a good and conservative approach, but it's hardly groundbreaking. They only know what to do because other have solved the same problem.

You failed to confirm you are a human. Please star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36998848)

So after 12 years of using Slashdot, it's annoying to have most of the posts rejected by a stupid policy decision.

Maybe the site doesn't want comments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36998878)

That's what it appears is happending. So after a decade the guys running this site have decided they don't want posts any longer. They're tired of us contributors.

Re:Maybe the site doesn't want comments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36999106)

I know I am tired of you contributing.

What a waste of money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36999020)

Pork barrel launched to Jupiter!

Re:What a waste of money! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999044)

Anonymous Coward gets lost in own navel!

Godspeed! (2)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999162)

Truly amazing that we, the only sentient life-forms we know of in the known universe, can conquer the nearly insurmountable forces and vastness of space, to discover the unknown. Restores my faith in humanity just a little bit!

Juno objects. (1)

rpresser (610529) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999164)

I'm sure the ancient Roman goddess of the heavens just loves being called a flying armored tank.

Re:Juno objects. (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999278)

I'm sure the ancient Roman goddess of the heavens just loves being called a flying armored tank.

-and probably the first time Juno has probed the depths of Jupiter, not the other way around..

Re:Juno objects. (1)

xevioso (598654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999332)

Zing! He'll be appearing here till Sunday, folks; be sure to try the steak!

Not sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36999200)

I'm just not sure how I feel about this... Them getting so close to Uranus.

The Juno web site at SWRI is terrible (1)

cruff (171569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36999252)

It seems to be only (or mostly) Flash based crap.

Why So Long a Flight Time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36999992)

The Pioneers and Voyagers took barely 1-1/2 years to get to Jupiter. Why does Juno require 5 years?

Re:Why So Long a Flight Time? (2)

Zorpheus (857617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37000474)

It is cheaper that way, since a smaller rocket can be used when launching the probe at a slower speed. Also the Voyagers weighted only 722kg, while Juno weighs 3625kg. The higher mass decreases the speed, unless a much larger rocket is used.

Re:Why So Long a Flight Time? (1)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 3 years ago | (#37000604)

Still, the way you put it, doesn't sound like a technological or engineering challenge, but mere budget. So I have to wonder how much costs would have to increase to get there in 1/4 of the time.

Re:Why So Long a Flight Time? (2)

Convector (897502) | more than 3 years ago | (#37000992)

The Pioneers and Voyagers didn't have to stop. Juno's going into orbit, and that's easier if it's not zipping along at breakneck speed. Going into orbit is always much more difficult than flying by.

Re:Why So Long a Flight Time? (1)

VanessaE (970834) | more than 3 years ago | (#37001328)

The Voyager probes only had to go about half way around the solar system before reaching Jupiter, and they basically traveled directly to each of the planets they visited. Voyager 1 went off into the void after its Jupiter flyby, while Voyager 2 used Jupiter and Saturn to slingshot itself toward Uranus and Neptune before leaving the solar system. In both cases, they were programmed to achieve solar escape velocity by the time their flybys were done, using however much fuel was necessary for the job.

In contrast, Juno is going to make one complete circuit around the Sun in an elliptical orbit that takes it out past Mars, it will fire its main rocket a couple of times out there to keep it on the right trajectory, then it'll fly past Earth again in about two years. It makes more than 1 and 1/2 laps around the solar system in total before reaching Jupiter, and it will be slowing down during most of the journey after the Earth flyby. Juno is far more massive than Voyager, and it is solar powered rather than using an RTG (as in Voyager and Pioneer), so they probably chose such a route partly to save on fuel and power.

Juno will go into a highly elliptical polar orbit around Jupiter (to avoid most of the radiation belts), which also requires a totally different route than one would take for any other "normal" type of orbit.

Re:Why So Long a Flight Time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37003744)

Voyager 1 went off into the void after its Jupiter flyby,

Nitpick: After its Saturn flyby. Voyager 1 visited Jupiter and Saturn. Based on the Pioneer missions' evidence of a thick atmosphere around Titan, NASA decided to investigate Titan's atmosphere with Voyager 1, at the cost of sending the probe out of the plane of the ecliptic.

Had they chosen to bypass Titan, we might have had two probes proceeding to the Grand Tour. (An alternate scenario could have sent one of the probes on a path to Pluto, at the cost of missing Neptune, and probably Uranus)

All in all, a good tradeoff - the pictures were pretty lame in comparison to what we could have gotten at Uranus and Neptune, but we learned enough about Titan's atmosphere to send the Huygens lander with the Cassini probe, which more than made up for it. And in the intervening 30 years, we managed to get a probe off to Pluto anyways.

Our species has chosen to go extinct on this rock. But at least I lived long enough to see the neighborhood.

Oh great (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37025694)

Juno, once described as a flying armored tank,

I just hope it doesn't crash-land back on earth. Steve Austin is getting way too old to fight shit like this.

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