In the past several years NASA, ESA and JAXA have all had their list of triumphs alongside a small number of failures, but never before have we seen so many consecutive achievements as those coming from NASA. Last year there were the hugely successful DAWN and NEW HORIZONS missions, both of which gathered a ton of media attention even at a time when space exploration was once again beginning to seem like a frivilous endeavor to so many people. The stupendous CASSINI, MARS RECONNAISSANCE ORBITOR and MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY missions continue to impress even the most jaded observer. All are operating flawlessly years after their accomplished primary mission objectives. CURIOSITY in its fourth year of operation has already become the most successful and most famous robotic device in history.
This summer NASA successfully racked up another winner : the JUNO mission designed to orbit Jupiter for a few years and study its cloud bands and Galilean Satellites in detail. Will JUNO discover new objects and enlarge the official count of 64 Jovian satellites? Will the oceans of Europa, the land masses of Ganymede or the volcanic activity of Io unveil important new understanding of the formation of the Solar System, perhaps even find evidence of organic compounds? As soon as a close orbit is established, JUNO’s formidable array of instruments will get to work and let us know!
Martin Werner Zander
Smith’s School of English 月謝制 Kotoen Real Monthly Tuition English Conversation School