[Solved] How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth? ( UPSC GS-1 Mains 2017)

[Solved] How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth?  ( UPSC GS-1 Mains  2017)

NASA’s mission to Jupiter and its moons helped scientists better understand the formation of our solar system and the origin and evolution of Earth. The Juno mission, launched on August 5th, 2011, will explore and record the cyclical nature of Jupiter’s magnetic field and deep interior structure by performing a comprehensive study of the large planet’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.

  • Juno’s primary goal is to improve our understanding of the formation of solar system planets by providing observations of Jupiter from an orbit that takes it well inside the powerful radiation fields surrounding the planet.
  • Reconstructing the formation and evolution of solar system planets helps us to understand how our own Earth came into being.
  • It will provide us with a better understanding of some of the important elements of our universe including Jupiter’s origin, its atmosphere, and formation of the solar system.

The Juno Mission is composed of three main parts:

  • Orbit insertion;
  • 22 orbits around Jupiter; and
  • The remainder of the mission which keeps on studying Jupiter for as long as possible.
  • This may involve an additional orbit insertion maneuver and perhaps a bit more science gathering after all key requirements are met.
  • Juno is a NASA spacecraft. It is exploring the planet Jupiter. Juno launched from Earth in 2011. The spacecraft did not land. Juno is called an “orbiter.” This kind of spacecraft flies around, or orbits, a planet.
  • As it is being said that the story of evolution of Jupiter is the story of the solar systems thus Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
  • Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation.
  • As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.
  • With its suite of science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras.
  • Juno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system.
  • Specifically, Juno will…

 • Determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed)

 • Look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties

 • Map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure

 • Explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especially the auroras – Jupiter’s northern and southern lights – providing new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere.

Further reading

Formation of the solar system

After the origin of the Sun, due to the nuclear fusion in its center wind-generated, that blows the gas and the dust particles in the solar system. The clouds of gas and dust collapsed and formed planets. The various planets were formed from the solar nebula. The inner solar nebula of certain planets was too hot to hold the gases. That is why it is composed of core, mantle, atmospheres. In the case of the outer solar nebula, temperatures were cool to hold the gases to accumulate. And that’s why the planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are made up of hydrogen, helium, ammonia, and methane. But the information about their core and mantle is yet to be revealed.


Jupiter is the biggest planet of the solar system and it is also known as Gas Giant. Finding the origin of the planet may also reveal other information about the solar system. Juno was sent to analyze a brief theory about the formation of giant planets and also the role of the giant planets in building the solar system.


  • The most mass from the Sun has been taken by Jupiter. Juno analyzed the heavy elements which are no longer in Earth’s system but were present during the formation.
  • Due to far distance, the solar winds failed to blow away the hydrogen and helium on Jupiter.
  • The heavy atmospheric pressure made the hydrogen liquid and formed large oceans. It can play a crucial role to understand the formation of the earth.
  • The aurora emitted by Jupiter in the solar system has been studied.
  • The impact of the magnetic field of Jupiter on its moons may help to find the understanding of other planets with their moons.
  • It provided the data on the amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
  • It found water makes up about 0.25% of Jupiter’s atmospheric molecule.

At present, Juno is still in operation and it has been continuing its studies about the giant planet and sending valuable information to the earth./Juno Mission/

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