If You Could Go Back In Time… Would You? To July Of 2016? Or 2014? 2013?

Three years ago this morning, in the wee hours, we learned that all the instruments on Juno were operative, and it was safely and snugly tucked in — to a Jovian elipse of an orbit trajectory.

Which put me in mind of this: after all the gas giant planetary science we’ve learned — would you go back? I know as to those last two, I certainly would. Here’s a reprint of one from this week, two years ago — as a celebration of NASA science:

If you could sprint by (all in a blur!) — just a few thousand miles above an unimaginably vast (by Earth scales) shimmering, and twisting copper-colored, certain to be glistening, even in the low lights — fairly-boiling hurricane, a storm that would swallow three Earths whole, and one that has been raging for over 300 years — would you take. . . the ride?

I know I would — if I could. It was just exactly a year ago, tonight, that we were holding our breath, awaiting word that Juno had achieved a stable orbital insertion/capture, via Lord Jupiter’s immense and crushing gravity. Here one year and seven days on, we will get our first close up data and pictures. . . of the so-called Great Red Spot (in fact, though — in the gloaming light around Jupiter, it is much more a. . . copper colored spot — thus the headline).

So do tune back in on the late evening of July 10, Eastern time. Until then, here’s a bit of the detail, from NASA’s JPL:

. . . .Just days after celebrating its first anniversary in Jupiter orbit, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the gas giant’s iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm. This will be humanity’s first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature — a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

“Jupiter’s mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This monumental storm has raged on the solar system’s biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”

The data collection of the Great Red Spot is part of Juno’s sixth science flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops. Perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter’s center) will be on Monday, July 10, at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno will have covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers) and will be directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the Giant Red Spot clouds. All eight of the spacecraft’s instruments as well as its imager, JunoCam, will be on during the flyby.Just days after celebrating its first anniversary in Jupiter orbit, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the gas giant’s iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm. This will be humanity’s first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature — a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

“Jupiter’s mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This monumental storm has raged on the solar system’s biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”

The data collection of the Great Red Spot is part of Juno’s sixth science flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops. Perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter’s center) will be on Monday, July 10, at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno will have covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers) and will be directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the Giant Red Spot clouds. All eight of the spacecraft’s instruments as well as its imager, JunoCam, will be on during the flyby. . . .

Smiling ear to ear, in seven days’ time. . . . but tonight — off to the [collateral family’s] club, for early fireworks, and some hot air ballooning. . . .

नमस्ते

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