Juno reaches Jupiter’s magnetosphere

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s magnetosphere and recorded what it sounds like:

Juno’s Waves instrument recorded the encounter with the “bow shock” over the course of about two hours on June 24, 2016.”Bow shock” is where the supersonic solar wind is heated and slowed by Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

It is analogous to a sonic boom on Earth.The next day, June 25, 2016, the Waves instrument witnessed the crossing of the magnetopause. “Trapped continuum radiation” refers to waves trapped in a low-density cavity in Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

Jupiter’s magnetosphere is enormous: the largest structure in the solar system, says NASA:

“If Jupiter’s magnetosphere glowed in visible light, it would be twice the size of the full moon as seen from Earth,” said William Kurth of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, lead co-investigator for the Jupiter Waves investigation.

“And that’s the shorter dimension of the teardrop-shaped structure; the dimension extending outward behind Jupiter has a length about five times the distance between Earth and the sun.”

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Two more years for Curiousity Rover

The Curiosity Rover has been exploring the surface of Mars for four years and is still going strong. The unit is in such good shape that it’s going to keep exploring for another two years.


Curiosity got off to a good start, as Space.com’s Mike Wall writes:

The rover found that the area near its landing site harbored a lake-and-stream system long ago, showing that at least some parts of the Red Planet could have supported microbial life in the ancient past.

The main goal of the $2.5 billion Curiosity mission is to answer that very question.

“It was just an early home run that kind of took the pressure off, and allowed us to expand on that [discovery] for the next few years,” Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, told Space.com.”

Back in 2012, it wasn’t clear if Curiosity Rover would survive the “7 minutes of terror” involved in hitting Mars’s atmosphere and landing on the surface of the planet.