Johns Hopkins APL’s Instrument Aboard Lockheed-Built Spacecraft Seeks to Study Jupiter’s Aurora Formation

deep-spaceA NASA spacecraft with a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory-built instrument that works to measure high-energy particles is scheduled to reach Jupiter on July 4 as part of a mission to study the planet and the universe.

Johns Hopkins APL’s Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instrument onboard the Lockheed Martin-built Juno spacecraft has three detectors designed to provide a 360-degree view of the space around the space vehicle, APL said Wednesday.

The JEDI detectors will work to collect data on high-energy particles that are responsible for the development of auroras around Jupiter’s polar regions as well as measure neutral atoms that the planet’s auroral atmosphere emits.

“Jupiter’s aurora has a power density 10 times greater than Earth’s, and an overall power that is a factor of 100 greater,” said Barry Mauk, lead of the JEDI investigation team at Johns Hopkins APL.

“What we want to know is, how is this system energized?”

Other instruments aboard Juno that will be used in magnetic field and particle investigations around the planet include the Southwest Research Institute-made Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment tool, Waves instrument and the Magnetometer Experiment equipment.

Juno is scheduled to enter Jupiter’s orbit five years after it was launched in 2011.

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