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10th of August 2016
ATNF Colloquium
Juno and Dawn Missions
by Larry James, Scott Bolton, Rick Nybakken, Tim Weise (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Abstract. Launched in August of 2011, the Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016. Jupiter is by far the largest planet in our solar system, with more than twice the mass of all the other planets combined. It was almost certainly the first planet to form, and understanding Jupiter's formation is key to understanding how our solar system began. It has the strongest magnetic field of any known planet, and its magnetosphere is arguably the largest structure in our solar system. - Launched in September of 2007, the Dawn spacecraft explored the proto-planet Vesta in 2011-2012 and dwarf planet Ceres in 2015-2016. Vesta and Ceres represent the original building blocks that formed the terrestrial planets, preserved as fossils from the dawn of the solar system. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two different extra-terrestrial bodies, the first, and only, spacecraft to orbit a main belt asteroid, and the first spacecraft to orbit a dwarf planet. These accomplishments were enabled by Dawn s use of ion propulsion.

Image caption: This illustration depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft at Jupiter, with its solar arrays and main antenna pointed toward the distant sun and Earth. - Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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