5-year cruise to Jupiter to begin
July 29th, 2011
02:09 PM ET

5-year cruise to Jupiter to begin

The launch window for NASA’s next mission, one the agency is calling a “five-year cruise to Jupiter”, opens next week, and scientists are hoping it will answer some giant questions about the giant planet.

Juno, named after the god Jupiter’s wife in Greek and Roman mythology, has been in the making since the early 2000s. In the ancient Roman stories, Jupiter, the god of the sky, pulled a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, and only his wife was able to peek through and see him as he truly was.

The Juno mission has been designed to do the same thing. Set to analyze the planet’s atmosphere, gravitation, and magnetic fields when it reaches Jupiter in 2016, it is the second mission within NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The first was a mission to the Plutonian moon Charon, that launched in 2006.

The origins behind the planet’s name and nicknames represent a long time fascination with the immense alien sphere. The largest planet in our solar system, it’s often called the “Giant among giants,” but the real appeal of the planet is not limited to its enormous size. The “Great Red Spot,” famously seen in photographs taken on some of the earliest Jupiter missions, has been a point of scientific curiosity for decades.

The spot itself is a spinning storm, much like a hurricane, called an anti-cyclone. An anti-cyclone is a high-pressure storm, meaning it rotates against the Coriolis Effect. The Coriolis Effect can be thought of as the apparent deflection of winds along a planet’s surface. In the northern hemisphere of a rotating planet, winds are deflected to the right as they approach the eye of a hurricane, creating storms that spin counter clockwise, and in the southern hemisphere, they spin clockwise. For example, a weather system rotating clockwise in the Earth’s northern hemisphere would be a high-pressure system and considered anti-cyclonic.

Sustained by Jupiter’s tremendous heat, much like hurricanes are sustained over the warm oceans, the red storm on Jupiter has existed for as long as humans have been observing the planet and is large enough to contain three Earths within its boundaries. Some speculations suggest that the color of the storm is due to phosphorous compounds within the atmosphere, but that has yet to be confirmed. If successful, the Juno mission will be able to prove or disprove that theory and give scientists further insight into the planet’s formation.

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. McGuffin

    As much as I'd love new pictures of Jupiter, determining whether the Red Spot is red due to phosphorous compounds is not exactly a very compelling reason to go. I hope they've got a lot more packed into that craft.

    July 29, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Erin


      The mission is WAY more cooler and beneficial than this article portrays. The more we learn of other planets atmospheres, the more we understand our own. Since the atmosphere is the "ocean" we live in, it's quite exciting!

      July 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    lets get together guys - Succotash on Jupiter yeah baby!

    July 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  3. Man

    Did NASA not cease operations?

    July 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Jim

      Only the Shuttle Program has ended.

      July 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  4. sweetJERSEYCORN

    Tomatoes on Jupiter ...that is corny!

    July 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm |

    Let's find out once and for all – are there tomatoes on Jupiter?

    July 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  6. parrot

    I think the Galileo mission answered all those questions, why are we wasting billion of dollars in another mission to Jupiter?

    July 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • davetharave

      All space missions are good, all space missions are worthwhile. Irrespective of the cost, humanity should be sending dozens of probes, satellites and manned missions to the planets and beyond to gain as much knowledge as possible about the universe we inhabit.

      July 29, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Sam I Am

      Stay in school or finish your GED.

      July 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • snow

      Well if you need a more practical reason for space exploration, how about the fact that we are crossing 7 bil humans on earth and soon will run out of space on earth . Unless we start on soilent green, we would run out of food too. Also, we are still extremely dependent on fossil fuel that will run out in the next century and need alternate source of energy. All these can be solved by space exploration. We may get to harvest minerals, etc from other planets, or find alternatives to what are available on this planet. Heck, if nothing, research that goes into building these crafts will further humanity itself. Space exploration is almost a must in this day and age

      July 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
      • cam

        Sorry, Snow, The solutions to our earthly shortage problems will not be found in space. To bring back minerals and energy from other planets, etc. would be insanely expensive. Mess up this place and move to another? Do you have any idea how far it would be, how long it would take, how much it would cost to move a few humans and all their stuff to another habitable planet–that is after one is found? We must begin solving our food and energy problems by reducing the earth's population and our dependence on fossil fuels. If we don't, either war or disease will do it for us. Not as glamorous as exploring space but much more realistic.

        July 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  7. deathwombat

    "The first was a mission to the Plutonian moon Charon, that launched in 2006."

    New Horizons is not just a mission to Charon. The mission is to study Pluto and its moons - Charon, Hydra and Nix - and an attempt will be made to fly past other Kuiper Belt Objects if any are found near its trajectory.

    July 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • lifekoala

      "....Pluto New Horizons mission, launched in January 2006 and scheduled to reach Pluto's moon Charon in 2015." http://www.nasa.gov. I dunno, but that seems like it contradicts you pretty hard. Do some research next time, kiddo 😛

      July 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
      • Anonymous

        Are you NUTS! You need to do some research yourself!!!! Here's the official site http://pluto.jhuapl.edu. New Horizons is a mission to study Pluto and its moons, not just its moons. In fact, when the mission was first conceived there was only 1 moon. Then, the scientists I work with discovered Nix and Hydra, and now they've discovered a 4th moon yet to be named. I am a senior engieer on the mission. If you doubt what I say, just ask the mission Principle Investigator Dr. S. Alan Stern. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

        July 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  8. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Juno is a Roman goddess. Her Greek equivalent is Hera.

    July 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  9. Rob

    Hey CNN don't bother with fact checking; you're just a NEWS site...the New Horizons mission was to study Pluto and it's moon, not just the moon.

    July 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  10. Cyphonix

    I work hard, earn money, pay my bill and taxes. I'm pleased that we are using our resources to keep our freedom fighting wars, as well as using that money for space research. I'm happy!

    July 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  11. ngc1300

    "I'm sorry Dave, this forum can serve no further purpose."

    July 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  12. awdam

    I hope obummer is on-board so if there are any other life forms out there,he can sc rew them up too!

    July 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • zhawk88

      real mature, dips***

      July 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
      • Bud

        No-Bama in 2012 and forever after! I voted for the SOB and I sure won't make that mistake again!

        July 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • astrodem

      Shut yer cakehole...idiot.

      July 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  13. Jason

    I found some more info on this article at http://www.geology.fm

    July 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  14. Dave

    Correction : The New Horizons Mission 1 is actually heading to Pluto, THEN to it's moon Charon and the other 3 moons (it's not just about Charon as the story posts).

    July 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Wait till they find that Mass Relay that is Charon. 😉
      Seriously, can't wait to get the data from the Pluto system, that will tell a lot about the Oort cloud.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
      • Geo

        Kuiper Belt, NOT the Oort Cloud.

        July 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  15. ck1721

    This is supposed to be an article about the mission, but they only devote one sentence to it. The rest of the article is about Jupiter's red storm and Greek/Roman mythology. Can we get the cost, objectives, specs, timline, what we hope to learn, etc? What a waste of an article...

    July 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      You have the mission name. Go to NASA's website and read ALL about it.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
      • aaron

        True, but I think you missed the point.

        July 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • ck1721

        I come to CNN so I don't have to waste time searching for newsworthy info...like going to NASA's website. That's my fault for trusting CNN to delivery a good article, but sans budget talk, I guess this was the best they could muster. Slow news day.

        July 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • C. Anderson

      Yeah, and they got the mythology wrong (Juno is the wife of Jupiter in Roman mythology. In the Greek, it is Hera and Zeus, respectively). This so-called science journalist is a joke–as evidenced by her article about the Dawn mission to Vesta in which she demonstrates that she doesn't know the difference between the birth of our solar system and the Big Bang (hey, what's nine billion years between friends?). Time to go back to the Hollywood or sports beats, Ms. Foreman–you're in over your head.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  16. HAL 9000

    Please tell me that Limbaugh, Beck and O'Riley are onboard.

    July 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • aaron

      Amen. Let's throw Michael Weiner (Savage) on for good measure. His brain is already in outer space anyway.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • KBinMN

      Is it true that Keith Olbermann out performs ion drive as what comes out of his mouth is not only constant but of higher velocity?

      July 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  17. Ahava

    I love how, for an article dedicated to space research and exploration, people are seriously getting worked up and annoyed with each other over the governmental economic disaster. I'm not saying that it isn't a big deal – it certainly is. However, can't we all just chill out and be excited about a really neat and possibly groundbreaking scientific opportunity? Like someone smart pointed out earlier, the money for this project was spent YEARS ago, so if you all want someone to be angry at, be angry at the president (although, it wouldn't have necessarily been his call) whose term this fell under.

    If you all really want to argue childishly, go to the MANY articles regarding the Obama/Boehner plans. Goodness.

    July 29, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  18. phearis

    From reading the comments, people here seem to be completely ignorant of this Mission. New Horizions wasn't started last week on a whim, it was created in 2006 by your Lord and Savior Gee-Dub. So if you all idiots have a problem with how much this mission costs, then blame The Dubaya; Because that money was allocated to NASA 5 years ago.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  19. Kong

    Peeps comments make me "LOL", But I agree with folks saying going into space is better then wars!

    July 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • HAL 9000

      But is it better than sex?

      July 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • jimmymax

      And star wars will be even better!

      July 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  20. shoop

    you do realize that part of the problem with the debt crisis is the public debt. consider returning this computer you are on and get credit back on your creditcard?

    July 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  21. Brian

    I do hope most of you idiots bashing anything we do in space just remember most of our current high end tech we have today was pretty much born during the space race back in the day.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  22. Reverend Wright

    Hopefully Obama will be onboard.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Pity that your brain can't be on board. The mass increase of the craft would be minimal.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • ck1721

        They can't let Obama on because his ego would mean critical mass in a zero G environment, and the craft would implode.

        July 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  23. Interested pedestrian

    This is awesome! I cannot wait to hear about what this thing finds.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      NASA put the data on the internet as it comes in. Can't wait for it to get there myself!

      July 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  24. Dave Bowman


    July 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • jimbojones


      July 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Hal

      Is that you Dave?

      July 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Gumby

      You just had to have HAL open those pod bay doors, didn't you?

      July 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Hammer Time

      Opps. my bad. can i get a do over

      July 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  25. John Doe

    HardWorkingTaxPayer: I also work hard and pay my taxes but if we have no Military do you really think that we could be the dominant power in the country. How on earth is NASA exploring uninhabitable planets for humans going to save us from Communist and al Qaeda?

    July 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • phearis

      Knowledge IS power. You'd know that if you picked up a book every now and then, instead of relying on Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
      • jimbojones

        I learned that on Schoolhouse Rock on ABC in the 70's.

        July 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • WDS

      DoD's budget in 2010: $663.7 billion
      NASA's budget in 2010: $18.7 billion

      July 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • JC

      This is what happens when you drop out. Your lack of education is responsible for your poor outcome. Blame yourself not the knowledge.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  26. stanton


    July 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Kjcube

      I've said once and I'll say it again... YOU PARTISAN PEOPLE ARE RETARDED! STFU!

      July 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • jimbojones

      therer may still be time for you to accompany the probe on its flight, stanton. Stop tying in all caps and ranting incoherently and uninformedly about things of which you have NO real clue. Try to stay on topic, too. You're in the wrong forum, troll.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • bADELEY-bENT

      I agree with you! Damn teabaggers!

      July 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Tea man

      Tea Me Up Scotty

      July 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Layne

      Caps-lock much?

      July 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      First, dullard, learn what the capslock key is for. THEN, learn the difference between your and you're.
      In short, become literate.
      Until then, stay off my side.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  27. HardWorkingTaxPayer

    I would rather my tax dollars go to NASA and not to WAR.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Sean

      I would rather my tax dollars go to NASA and not to welfare counties.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
      • Wzrd1

        So, you would rather commit to space research than to feed hungry Americans, even if they're disabled?

        July 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  28. Chach

    Daisy, daaiiiiissssy.............d................aaaaaaaaaaaa................................iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.......................................ssssssssssssss...................*

    July 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  29. bob

    Just another way we're wasting money.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Bharath Chintala

      Are you serious

      July 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • phearis

      Bob, I'm not even going to begin to tell you how much of an idiot you are.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Seth

      Because education, exploration and knowledge are not worthwhile expenditures, yet starting wars without an exit strategy and continuing tax loopholes for corporate jets are?

      July 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  30. Maurice

    My god, it's full of stars.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  31. John Doe

    bobo: if we didn't fund any of the wars the United States would no longer be free. Freedom isn't truly free you stupid idiot.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Kjcube

      It costs a buck oh five lol

      July 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Huh?

      Well we attack a country for no reason (Iraq). I say to save money we should have attack a country that is closer, like say Canada or Mexico. I’m mean if we’re into attacking folks for no reason we should at least do it on the cheep.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
      • Sean

        Agreed, lets carpet bomb Mexico.

        July 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Robb L.

      Without a doubt, the US needs a military presence to maintain our freedom. But there are any number of other "free" countries on this planet who are spending one-tenth per capita on their military that we are. Of course, they're not trying to turn a worthless section of Asian mountains peopled by nomdic tribes into a democratic society at the cost of several hundred billion per year. And they're not trying to (? what are we trying to accomplish in Iraq?) to a country that shouldn't even be a country – blame the Brits for that one – they "created" Iraq after WWI from three peoples that never should have been together. So yeah, we need a military – just not the one we have.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  32. FauxNews

    Thank you for good news CNN 🙂

    July 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  33. VeeZee

    " 'Morning, Dave. "

    July 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  34. kishore

    I want to sit on one of those wings and get the hell out of here for another 5 years at least.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  35. KK Denver

    What's going to happen?.... Something wonderful

    July 29, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Chris, Austin

      KK – niiice. Well done.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  36. Mach

    Godspeed and best wishes on the journey!

    July 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  37. Me

    Cue HAL 9000 jokes....come on now, keep them coming. Let's see what you people have.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Kjcube

      Daisy, Daisy.... Yeah I got nothing 🙂

      July 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • RICK

      Dave, will I dream ?

      July 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  38. bobo


    July 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  39. Dltrey305

    wait I thought we were out of money , I guess can't pay out social security but can send stuff into space. Time for a change

    July 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • bobo

      Heaven forbid we try to learn about the universe around us. Give me a break. Try defunding wars, not exploration into the space which we will inevitably have to inhabit after we're done destroying Earth.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
      • Mach

        We will all look the the folks in WALL-E and have WalMart to thank for the end of our planet!

        July 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • FauxNews

      Yeah, I know what you mean. After paying the third generation welfare people to sit around and eat, I was surprised we had any money left over to pay hard working engineers to discover the secrets of the Universe.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
      • Fluffy

        The only down side to the mission – and I'm guessing this from the welfare comment – is those hard working engineers built the probe to do science. Science is that nasty bit of knowledge that tells you you're probably stupid.

        July 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Ancient Curse

      And last week I bet you were trashing Obama for ending the shuttle program. ::sigh::

      July 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Not My Real Name

      The money was appropriated and spent YEARS ago already. Not NASA's fault that the rest of the gov't can't get its act together.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Chach

      Sure, defund EVERYTHING the "evil governement" pays for while we're at it. Then let's see how many jobs are created. Dumb-a$$.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
      • Badeley-Bent

        There's only one way to create more jobs and it's only a stroke of the pen away. It's called fair trade.

        July 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm |


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