Science Findings

06.01.21

Juno Spacecraft Doubles as an Interplanetary Dust Detector

Juno’s Magnetometer Investigation’s star cameras tracked tiny bits of the spacecraft excavated by interplanetary dust impacting at high speed (~10km/s).

Dust distribution in our solar system as measured by Juno

With a collecting area of ~60m2 (solar arrays), Juno is ~600 times more sensitive to such impacts than dedicated dust detectors (0.1m2) flown previously.


Ejecta from impact with Interplanetary dust

Dust distribution in our solar system as measured by Juno

• Juno provides the first radial profile of interplanetary dust (of size few to 10’s µm) and  identifies Mars as its source.
• The dust is distributed in the Mars orbit plane and scattered above/below by gravitational perturbations. 
• The dust distribution solves the mystery of Zodiacal Light.

Credit: Jorgensen, J. L. et al., (2020), Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets, 125, e2020JE006509. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JE006509

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