Science, Nature and Tech

What is Juno?

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Sam has worked as a forensic scientist as well as for the British government, and has degrees in both archaeology and osteoarchaeology. She has 2 children, is passionate about science, reading, history and music, and loves dyeing her hair bright colours!

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There has been a lot of excitement about the Juno probe this week, but what is it and what is its mission?

What is Juno?

Juno is a spacecraft designed and operated by NASA, the US space agency. It was launched from Cape Canaveral on the 5th August 2011 and has taken almost 5 years to travel the 716 million kilometres to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. Juno is 3.5 metres in height, and when its solar arrays are extended it’s more than 20 metres across. These arrays are covered in more than 18,500 solar cells, which allows Juno to operate even when it’s at such a great distance from the Sun.

Screenshot 2016-07-07 at 11.03.21

(Image: NASA)

 

Why is it called Juno?

In Roman mythology Juno was the Queen of the gods. She was married to the king, Jupiter, who wasn’t always well-behaved. Juno had to peer through the clouds to discover what he was up to; the spacecraft is called Juno because it will be looking beneath the clouds that cover the surface of the planet Jupiter.

Aboard the Juno craft are 3 models of Lego minifigures: Jupiter, Juno and Galileo, who discovered in 1610 that Jupiter had moons.

From left to right: Galileo, Juno and Jupiter. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LEGO).

From left to right: Galileo, Juno and Jupiter. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LEGO).

What is it looking for?

Jupiter is enormous; it’s two and a half times larger than all the other planets in our solar system combined. It’s made entirely of gases and is believed to have no solid surface. The planet rotates at an immense speed, completing one rotation every ten hours, and telescopes have shown us that it has a cloudy atmosphere with colourful spots and stripes. The largest of these, known as the Great Red Spot, is a storm that is several times the size of Earth and has been raging for more than 300 years.

Jupiter. The Great Red Spot is clearly visible. (Image: NASA).

Jupiter. The Great Red Spot is clearly visible. (Image: NASA).

This mission is the first time that humans will be able to glimpse what lies beneath Jupiter’s cloudy atmosphere. The main objective is to understand how the planet formed and evolved, which will give us more information about the formation of gas giants as well as the rest of the solar system. Juno will also measure the quantities of water and ammonia within the atmosphere, examine the magnetic field that surrounds the planet, observe any polar auroras and measure the gravity to see whether a solid core may exist after all.

For more information about the Juno mission you can watch this video from Nasa, and have a look at the Juno mission webpage.

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Science, Nature and Tech

Science News For Kids – MAVEN Spacecraft in Orbit Around Mars

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Sam

Sam has worked as a forensic scientist as well as for the British government, and has degrees in both archaeology and osteoarchaeology. She has 2 children, is passionate about science, reading, history and music, and loves dyeing her hair bright colours!

Sam blogs about all kinds of science at www.samanthagouldson.com.
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This week saw an exciting announcement from the US space agency, NASA  with the safe arrival of its MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars. But how did it get there and what is its mission?

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Science, Nature and Tech

SCIENCE NEWS – Discovery of An Underground Ocean

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Sam

Sam has worked as a forensic scientist as well as for the British government, and has degrees in both archaeology and osteoarchaeology. She has 2 children, is passionate about science, reading, history and music, and loves dyeing her hair bright colours!

Sam blogs about all kinds of science at www.samanthagouldson.com.
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Earth’s Underground Ocean

 

In 1864 the French author, Jules Verne, published his novel “Journey To The Interior of the Earth”. In this book 3 men explore volcanic tunnels that lead miles beneath the Earth’s surface, and have a number of strange encounters along the way. One of these is the discovery of a massive ocean, deep underground. Now, 150 years later, it seems that Monsieur Verne’s imagination may have been more accurate than he knew.

An enormous reservoir of water, roughly 3 times bigger than all of the Earth’s oceans put together, has been detected 400 miles below the surface. The water is trapped inside a layer of blue rock called ringwoodite, in the layer of hot rock between the Earth’s core and its surface) that is known as the mantle.

 

 

How was it found?

 

A team of scientists studied the waves of energy, known as seismic waves, that move through the Earth after an earthquake. In fact, they studied the waves generated by more than 500 earthquakes! By measuring how fast these waves moved, the scientists were able to work out which types of rock they were passing through. When the seismic waves reached the layer of wet ringwoodite, in what is known as the transition zone, they slowed down because it takes longer for them to pass through wet rock than dry rock.

 

 

Is it really an ocean?

 

Not exactly. It’s more like a water-logged sponge; the water stays inside it until it’s squeezed or put under pressure. Steven Jacobsen, the team’s leader, describes the layer of wet ringwoodite as “Rock with water along the boundaries between the grains, almost as if they’re sweating”.

 

Why is it so exciting?

 

For a long time many geologists (scientists who study rocks and the Earth) believed that our planet’s water came from icy comets that melted when they crashed into the surface. This new discovery suggests that a different theory may be right, and that the oceans gradually oozed out from below the Earth’s crust. Although the team has only examined the ringwoodite beneath the United States of America, they believe that it extends far around the globe and will soon be studying other areas to see if this is true.

 

 

 

Also, until now, most rock in the mantle was thought to begin melting at just 50 miles below the surface. Finding a layer of wet but solid rock 400 miles down suggests that there are far more interesting things happening in the mantle than anyone realised. And the water trapped in the ringwoodite isn’t water as we know it, it’s in an entirely new form. It’s not liquid, ice or vapour but is fused into the rock.

We should be very grateful for the layer of ringwoodite that’s trapped the water permanently in the transition zone. Jacobsen has pointed out that if all the water contained in the rock was on the Earth’s surface instead, only mountaintops would be above water. And my swimming’s not that good…

 

 

Featured Image by University of Alberta

You can find out how to make the Earth Core Models here.

 

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Science, Nature and Tech

Store Cupboard Science – Experiments at Home

Guest

Would you like to write for Jump! Mag? Find out more about how you can contribute here www.jumpmag.co.uk/contribute

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While there are plenty of science kits in the shops, did you know that you can do loads of science with things that you already have in your store cupboard?  Science enthusiast Lisa White has put together a list of things that you need for a variety of basic science experiments.

 

 

store cupboard

 

 

 

You might need extra equipment but these are the basics. Having white vinegar, salt, bicarbonate of soda and washing up liquid in stock will be useful too!

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Science, Nature and Tech

Awesome Science Resources for Kids

Lynn Schreiber

Founder and Editor at Jump! Mag
A freelance writer, who lives and works in Scotland with her family and fluffy white dog.

Likes: Writing, reading, twitter and chocolate
Dislikes: Negative and angry people
Where else can you find great Science Resources for Kids? You can browse our archives here on Jump! Mag or you can check out the following sites.
We will update this list in the coming months, and will concentrate on resources you can access online – lectures, TV Shows, YouTube channels, online archives, websites and blogs with science tutorials so that you can roll up your sleeves and get stuck into science.
We will update this list and the accompanying YouTube Playlist regularly, so if you have something cool to add, let us know.

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