Anyone who also follows me on Twitter (or, if you’re reading this on the site in the next few hours, you can look at the sidebar on the right of the page) will know that there’s a big planetary exploration event tomorrow, and a NASA Social to go along with it.
For the rest of you, note that tomorrow evening the Juno spacecraft, launched five years ago, will arrive at Jupiter. It will be firing its main engine for about 35 minutes to slow down enough to be captured by Jupiter. If the engine fires for less than 20 minutes, Juno will sail off into interplanetary space. If the engine fires for much longer than expected, it will crash into the planet and be crushed.
Emily Lackdawalla at the Planetary Society has an excellent guide to what’s scheduled to happen.
As is my wont these days when I can’t make it to a NASA Social (in this case, because I wasn’t picked when I applied) I spent a good chunk of the day spreading the word about those who were there, and re-tweeting many of their excellent comments, pictures, and videos. All of those folks will be there again tomorrow during the orbital insertion, so you can follow them to get a view from inside the campus.
Over on NASA-TV there will be a pre-insertion press conference at 09:00 PDT (12:00 EDT, adjust as needed from there). The NASA-TV coverage of the actual insertion maneuver will start at 19:30 PDT, with the maneuver itself to start at 20:18 and be over at 20:53. There will be a post-insertion news conference at 22:00 PDT. All of the NASA-TV events will also be available on a number of platforms on your phone or computer as well.
Since I didn’t get picked for this NASA Social, we’ll be at the Dodgers game for the fireworks. But I hear they have excellent wi-fi these days – and I have a DVR.
Follow along! Our family has watched every planetary flyby, arrival, and landing we could since the kids were born. Pathfinder, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity, New Horizons, Galileo, Messenger, Cassini… It’s exciting to watch something created by tens of thousands of scientists and engineers from all over the country and all over the world actually arrive at another planet, close to a billion miles away.
We really should do it more often!