August 01, 2011
When it comes to magnetic fields, Jupiter is the ultimate muscle car. It's endowed with the biggest, brawniest magnetic field of any planet in the solar system, powered by a monster engine under the hood.
Figuring out how this mighty engine, or dynamo, works is one goal of NASA's Juno mission, which is scheduled to begin its five-year, 400-million-mile (643,737,600- kilometer-mile) voyage to Jupiter this month. Juno will orbit the planet for about a year, investigating its origin and evolution. Juno has eight instruments to probe its internal structure and gravity field, measure water and ammonia in its atmosphere, map its powerful magnetic field and observe its intense auroras.
The magnetic field studies will be the job of Juno's twin magnetometers, designed and built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. They will measure the field's magnitude and direction with greater accuracy than any previous instrument, revealing it for the first time in high-definition.
Read the full story at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/news/juno20110801.html .
DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.