Taxonomy term


Deep Space Network

Messages from Juno and other spacecraft in the far reaches of the solar system are relayed to scientists via NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), which was created in 1958. DSN consists of three sets of powerful radio antennae spaced about 120 degrees longitude apart around the world near Barstow, Calif., Canberra, Australia, and Madrid, Spain. The complexes are all situated in bowl-shaped terrain in semi-mountainous rural areas to minimize interference from external radio waves. As Earth rotates, at least one of the DSN antennae is pointed toward the spacecraft at all times. Communications via DSN begin and end at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the system.

11 Mar 2019

Citizen science (and art)

Juno carries a visible light camera, JunoCam, which is intended primarily to take photos that, it’s hoped, will provoke public interest in Jupiter. The images sent back are available for anyone to download and manipulate for scientific or artistic purposes. Thousands of images, both raw and manipulated, have been made available for viewing, and hundreds of citizen scientists have been engaged in the project. Scientists say they are delighted at how JunoCam has resonated and increased interest in, and understanding of, the Juno mission. See

11 Mar 2019

Juno unveils Jupiter's secrets

NASA’s Juno mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Aug. 5, 2011, and arrived at Jupiter nearly five years later, having traveled 2.8 billion kilometers. Since then, Juno has made a plethora of new discoveries, upturning much of what we thought we knew about the gas giant. What else could it reveal?

11 Mar 2019

Dust orbiting Jupiter is going the wrong way

Periodically, micrometeoroids strike one of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter — Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto — sending dust into space, some of which enters into orbit around the gas giant. Recently, researchers charting the dusts’ orbits spotted some peculiar patterns, including some particles orbiting Jupiter in a retrograde fashion, by circling, when viewed from above, clockwise rather than counterclockwise.

03 Nov 2016

Modeling Io’s weird mountains

Jupiter’s innermost moon, Io, is home to some of the strangest mountains in our solar system: towering isolated peaks, some more than 8,000 meters tall, that jut from the moon’s surface with little evidence of underlying tectonics. Now, a new model may explain how Io’s odd peaks formed.

30 Aug 2016

Jupiter's shrinking Great Red Spot

Like a kid sitting for her annual school portrait, Jupiter lines up with the Hubble Space Telescope for a series of photographs once a year. The images capture a broad range of features, including winds, clouds, storms and atmospheric patterns, and are used to create yearly maps of the gas giant to study how it changes over time.
05 Feb 2016

Plate tectonics seen on Europa

Earth is no longer the only body in the solar system where plate tectonics operates, according to new research reported in Nature Geoscience. 

05 Feb 2015

Juno salutes its home planet and heads to Jupiter

Thanks to orbital mechanics, a spacecraft heading to Jupiter must go most of the way there, then loop around the sun, zoom back close to Earth, and finally head out again on its mission to the largest planet in the solar system. That's the story of Juno, launched by NASA on Aug. 5, 2011, and due to arrive at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. Its journey required a boost in velocity, relative to the sun, which it received when it flew as close as 559  kilometers above Earth on Oct. 9, 2013.

11 Dec 2013

Jupiter breaks out in spots

Like any aging planet, Jupiter’s face has undergone a few changes over time. And even as the gas giant’s most famous feature — the colossal storm known as the Great Red Spot — appears to be shrinking, other spots have appeared.

02 Apr 2009