To Jupiter and Beyond

Little astrobears are very busy and not to be disturbed 🙂

To Jupiter and Beyond

They have established communications with Galileo Galilei, Jupiter and Juno, the three Lego figures who have piloted the 3.6-tonne solar-powered probe Juno to Jupiter 🙂

An artist's rendering of Juno flying by Jupiter. NASA/JPL-Caltech
An artist’s rendering of Juno flying by Jupiter. NASA/JPL-Caltech
The final view captured by Juno before its non-essential instruments powered down to prepare to enter Jupiter’s orbit. It was still 3.3 million miles away from its destination. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
The final view captured by Juno before its non-essential instruments powered down to prepare to enter Jupiter’s orbit. It was still 5.3 million kilometers away from its destination. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Yes, the probe is named after the ancient Roman goddess Juno, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife – we’ll not dwell on that!) of the Roman god of sky and thunder, and king of gods, Jupiter, and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Jupiter was a rather naughty deity, who used clouds to hide what he was up to, but his wife Juno was always able to see through them – hence the magnifying glass of discovery in her Lego hand.

The three Lego figures orbiting Jupiter - Galileo, holding a telescope, Juno, holding a magnifying glass of discovery and Jupiter, holding lightning
The three Lego figures orbiting Jupiter – Galileo, holding a telescope, Juno, holding a magnifying glass of discovery and Jupiter, holding lightning

And yes, the probe is carrying three Lego figures, made by Lego especially for NASA out of space-grade aluminium to survive the trip and the highly radioactive, gaseous planet.

Jupiter and Juno installed on the Juno spacecraft
Jupiter and Juno installed on the Juno spacecraft NASA/LEGO
Galileo installed on the Juno spacecraft
Galileo installed on the Juno spacecraft NASA/LEGO

Lego have also done a whole space tie-in with NASA on their website.

The mini-metal figures are joined on the spacecraft by another “special passenger”, one that also pays tribute to Galileo, from the Italian Space Agency.

A plaque dedicated to and depicting Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei as seen on board NASA's Juno spacecraft. (NASA)
A plaque dedicated to and depicting Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei as seen on board NASA’s Juno spacecraft. (NASA)

The graphic on the plaque shows a self-portrait of Galileo and the plaque also includes — in Galileo’s own hand — a passage he made in 1610 of observations of Jupiter, as was archived in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence, Italy.

Galileo, Juno and Jupiter have been flying around the other Jupiter for two weeks now and they have a few interesting things to report. The astrobears are all ears 🙂

To Jupiter and Beyond

Jupiter is twice as massive as all the other planets combined.
Jupiter is twice as massive as all the other planets combined.
Jupiter's gravity is so strong that a rocket would have to go an unthinkable 135,000 mph to leave.
Jupiter’s gravity is so strong that a rocket would have to go an unthinkable 135,000 mph to leave.
Jupiter's magnetosphere is the biggest object in the solar system. Its magnetic field is 20 times stronger than Earth's.
Jupiter’s magnetosphere is the biggest object in the solar system. Its magnetic field is 20 times stronger than Earth’s.
Jupiter has a swirling storm twice the width of Earth that's raged for at least the last 150 years called the Great Red Spot.
Jupiter has a swirling storm twice the width of Earth that’s raged for at least the last 150 years called the Great Red Spot.
Jupiter spins faster than any planet, so its day is only about 10 Earth-hours long.
Jupiter spins faster than any planet, so its day is only about 10 Earth-hours long. Well! That’s just not enough play time!
The temperature near Jupiter's core may be about 24,000 degrees Celsius — hotter than the surface of the sun.
The temperature near Jupiter’s core may be about 24,000 degrees Celsius — hotter than the surface of the sun.
If it was 80 times more massive, Jupiter would have become a star instead of a planet.
If it was 80 times more massive, Jupiter would have become a star instead of a planet.
Jupiter has the most moons of any planet in the solar system at 67 confirmed. Galileo found the first four in 1610: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Jupiter has the most moons of any planet in the solar system at 67 confirmed. Galileo found the first four in 1610: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
As a gas giant, Jupiter is mostly made of hydrogen and helium, so its surface isn't solid.
As a gas giant, Jupiter is mostly made of hydrogen and helium, so its surface isn’t solid.
The monster planet spins around so fast with so much gravity that it acts like a slingshot to any space debris that come near it. Juno will get closer than any spacecraft before it — here's hoping it makes it out alive.
The monster planet spins around so fast with so much gravity that it acts like a slingshot to any space debris that come near it. Juno will get closer than any spacecraft before it — here’s hoping it makes it out alive.

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