Today’s post is a special A to Z Challenge edition of Sciency Words, an ongoing series here on Planet Pailly where we take a look at some interesting science or science related term so we can all expand our scientific vocabularies together. In today’s post, J is for:


The current NASA mission exploring Jupiter is named Juno. That stands for Jupiter Near-polar Orbiter. Except not really. I’m pretty sure someone came up with that acronym long after the Juno mission was already named.

According to a press release from 2011, NASA named its Jupiter mission after the Roman goddess Juno (a.k.a. Hera), the wife of Jupiter (a.k.a. Zeus). Now if you’re at all familiar with Greek and Roman mythology, you know Jupiter and Juno didn’t exactly have an ideal marriage.

In that 2011 press release, NASA reminds us of one specific story in which Jupiter tried to hide his “mischief” behind a veil of clouds. Of course the whole veil of clouds routine didn’t work, and Juno saw right through her husband’s trickery.

NASA was kind of brilliant with this specific mythological reference. It’s a lot cleverer than some silly acronym.

The Juno space probe is equipped with ultraviolet and infrared cameras, which can see through the top most layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere. Even better, Juno is carrying instruments for studying Jupiter’s magnetic field, which will indirectly tell us more about the planet’s core. And Juno will be mapping the planet’s gravitational field, which will reveal how mass is distributed in the planet’s interior.

In other words…

Next time on Sciency Words: A to Z, what’s the total mass of a kilogram?

12 responses »

  1. ooh, that is clever

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jaishvats says:

    That was new information about NASA and Hera. Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Juneta says:

    Great post. Love mythology as much as sci-fi.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fun theme for AtoZ. Interesting post:)

    Celebrating ‘Women & their work’ all April @NamySaysSo A Journalist Who Will Never Be

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Thanks, and your theme sounds really cool too. There’s been a pretty strong push of late to get more women involved in science, and I have to say I think we are starting to see results. When I read astrophysics and planetary science papers, it seems like more and more of them have women as principle investigators.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, there are a lot of women in Engineering from India(an electronics engineer myself). But fewer pursuing pure science and research. Planetary science sounds like such an interesting field.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.S. Pailly says:

        It’s interesting to me to hear you say that, because when India’s Mars Orbiter Mission reached Mars, I saw a lot of photos of celebration at mission control, and there seemed to be a pretty good mix of men and women there. It really struck me because it looked like a more even mix than what we typically see with NASA. Although I suppose a Mars mission would involve a lot of engineers, so maybe that’s why.

        Liked by 1 person

      • True that. ISRO does have a lot of women scientists and engineers. Though the celebration photo of the women in sarees was actually of only support staff. If you are interested do take a look at this documentary on the women behind the mars mission.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.S. Pailly says:

        Thanks for that! I really enjoyed that, and it makes me happy to see more women involved in space science.

        Liked by 1 person

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