The first scientific data back from NASA's JUNO mission from JIRAM, the Italian instrument designed to study Jupiter up-close
- Mauro Moretti: “We’re proud to be able to demonstrate again that ‘Made in Italy’ is a badge of excellence in high-tech Space instruments”
- JIRAM (Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper) will photograph Jupiter and analyse the images to understand the planet’s formation, evolution and structure
- Leonardo also provides JUNO’s attitude sensor, the technological ‘navigator’ which led the probe 3 billion km into Space
Today the JIRAM (Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper) Space spectrometer, developed for NASA’s JUNO probe by Leonardo-Finmeccanica, bursts into life, marking the start of the scientific stage of the mission to study the origin and evolution of Jupiter. JUNO (Jupiter Near polar Orbiter) is the second part of NASA’s New Frontiers programme.
Representing the finest in Italian technology, JIRAM is the heart of the JUNO probe, its mission to observe Jupiter at close range to understand the planet’s formation, development and structure. Notably, the instrument will take spectrographic photographs of Jupiter’s auroras, analysing the upper atmosphere for the presence of methane, water vapour, ammonia and phosphine.
“As JUNO’s scientific mission begins, Leonardo and Italy are helping to bring Jupiter that little bit closer. My congratulations go to our engineers and scientists and the team at the ASI; I’m proud, both as the CEO of the company that built the instrument, and an Italian, to be able to demonstrate yet again that ‘Made in Italy’ is a badge of excellence in high-tech Space instruments.” said Mauro Moretti, CEO and Managing Director of Leonardo, adding “JIRAM is just the latest in a tradition which has seen Leonardo work with the ASI and the scientific community to produce Italian instruments for major planetary exploration missions including for Cassini, Rosetta, Venus Express and Dawn”.
Funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and operated under the scientific supervision of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Planetology (IAPS) INAF in Rome, JIRAM was designed and manufactured at Leonardo’s facility in Campi Bisenzio outside Florence. The site has provided more than 450 parts, sensors and instruments for international Space missions, including the Autonomous Star Tracker for the JUNO mission which led the probe 3 billion kilometres into Space and will continue to watch the stars to keep JUNO sticking tightly to its pre-planned route.
Italian technology on-board JUNO also includes the KaT (Ka-Band Translator) instrument for conducting radio-science experiments. KaT is funded by the ASI and built by Thales Alenia Space (a joint venture between Thales and Leonardo). Support will be provided by the Sapienza University of Rome which will use the instrument to study the internal composition of Jupiter and its gravitational field.