Saturn has its rings, Mars has its rusty landscape, Earth has its whales, water, and wi-fi…and Jupiter has its Great Red Spot. The giant gas planet’s enormous orange storm—once over twice the diameter of Earth but today “only” about 1.3 times as wide—is one of the most distinctive planetary features in our Solar System. It’s so well-known that even young children are sure to include its orangey oval when drawing Jupiter!
But as famous as it is, there’s a lot we still don’t know about Jupiter’s giant storm. NASA’s Juno spacecraft, launched in August 2011, has now been orbiting Jupiter since July 4, 2016 and has been using its suite of science instruments to investigate the planet’s complex atmosphere like never before possible. Thanks to Juno, for the first time scientists are able to “see” deep below Jupiter’s dense clouds (in microwave wavelengths, that is) and find out what’s happening inside the GRS. What they’ve discovered is a storm hundreds of miles deep with a hot base that powers its winds.
The Expedition 45 crew has gone full Jedi for their team poster! (The mission patch is kinda shaped like a Star Destroyer…)
Entitled “International Space Station Expedition XLV: The Science Continues,” the poster features Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko (first and second on the right), NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren (left, front), Russian cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko (top right and top left) and Kimiya Yui with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
On March 27 Kelly and Kornienko will launch to the ISS (along with Exp. 44 commander Gennady Padalka) to begin the first year-long residence aboard the Station.
Just remember guys: fly casual! (And watch out with those lightsabers up there.)