Monday, 4 July 2016

by jove

Launched in August 2011 and crossing a distance of over eight hundred million kilometres, aided by several gravity-assists—sling-shot manoeuvres, the space probe Juno is expected today to enter a polar orbit of the gas giant—more like a star than a planet to our understanding, Jupiter for an eighteen-month mission to survey and study this out-sized world and constellation of attendant phenomenon born out of the extreme conditions fostered by the planet’s mass.
Flying just above the cloud-tops, approaching as close as it can be piloted to the perilous electric storms and crippling radiation that also makes direct communication difficult, researchers hope that Juno will be able to sound the depths of the thick atmosphere and determine the nature of what’s inside. The name of the mission is of course a mythological allusion to Jupiter’s (Zeus’) use of clouds to try to cloak his mischief and infidelities from his wife, Juno (Hera), but the King of the Gods was duping no one—expect maybe those mere mortals he exercised his droit du seigneur on, as Juno had the ability to peer through that misty veil. I wonder what surprises that this exposé will reveal and unveil over the next coming months—not to continue with that domestic drama metaphor too much longer.