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Moons of Jupiter

September 13, 2010

Designing instruments for planned missions to explore Jupiter’s many moons requires a combination of scientific acumen and engineering skill.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Exploring Jupiter’s moons….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, has at least 63 moons.

BETSY PUGEL (NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center):
They look very different from one another.

HIRSHON:
That’s physicist Betsy Pugel, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

PUGEL:
Io’s has these volcanoes that are spewing out of it. And Europa’s pristine, it’s got a smoothe, icy surface. And we believe that there may be an ocean of water underneath the ice, so part of what people are interested in exploring is the possibility of life out at Europa.

HIRSHON:
Pugel is part of a team designing instruments to measure the chemical composition of these moons’ atmospheres.

PUGEL:
We have to make sure that the things that we build can withstand all the changes in coming so close to the sun, so we get heated up, and going so far away from the sun. All the electronics have to stay alive, and there’s also radiation along the way.

HIRSHON:
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.