The next building project will be Juno, a big probe headed for Jupiter. Unique, because it is the first probe to the outer planets (the inner planets being Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) without the aid of an RTG, a Radio-isotope Thermo-electric Generator. In other words a kind of small nuclear reactor that provides the probe of energy on its long flight. Such devises ar not only very expensive and dangerous to assemble but also a probable pollution source if it would crash on one of Jupiter's moons, say Europa for example.
Scientists have reason to believe that under Europa's thick layer of ice there might be a sea in which life could develop or already has developed. We wouldn't want to start messing up on some other world too, now would we?
So Juno is equipped with huge solar panels. While rotating on its Y axis (north-south) the solar panels will sway round like windmill blades. Juno will describe very large elliptical orbits around Jupiter while looking at its gravity field, its magnetic field and the magnetosphere. Also, Juno will look in to the reason why the atmosphere of the biggest planet in our solar system creates all those neat ring-like bands of clouds and gases.
This research will continue until Jupiter has been completely scanned. This will take 32 orbits during six years after which Juno will be sent into Jupiters thick gassy atmosphere and burn up. Jupiter has no core and consists solely out of dense gases. Juno won't do any harm in there.
John Jogerst, alias Yogi, an avid paper modeler and designer has made a very nice model of Juno a while ago. he based his drawings on the photographs available and came up with a model which is very good for educational purposes but lacks a little in detail, in my very humble opinion.
I decided to take on a more detailed build and with some extra information I gained a lot of new pictures and facts.
Juno's solar panels in construction
The first thing I did was changing the colour of the solar panels. They aren't blue but almost jet black. I changed Yogi's model but I still am thinking of completely redoing them. The backside is matte aluminium with small electrical silvery lines over them. As a finish the front side of the panels will be treated with a thick layer of gloss paint.
The core part is a hexagon with open sides and insulating foil around it. The HGA (High Gain Antenna) dish on top also is clad in foil. So there will be non-paper involved in this build. On top of the hexagon there are several instruments and a big dish for communication with home.
Juno without its foil upholstery.
So first there will be some more detailing in the design before printout and assembly. Scale will be 1/48 so it fits nicely next to my beautiful Voyager model I made half a year ago.
Voyager in 1/48 with a same scale Voskhod next to it. A big probe! Juno will be in the same league. I really hope Juno comes out just as nice as this one, I still consider Voyager one of the best, if not thee best model I've made.
Build starts soon!