On July 4, NASA’s Juno orbiter is scheduled to make its long-awaited, high-risk entry into the gaseous giant’s atmosphere. The entry will mark the culmination of the orbiter’s five-year journey across our solar system, but is also just the beginning — Juno will get to work sending back data on Jupiter’s violent weather and physical makeup that could inform our understanding of how our own planet evolved.
Documenting all of it is this new series from CuriosityStream called Destination: Jupiter. The first episode, about six months in the making, was just made available to subscribers online (you can sign up for a free trial month here if you are so inclined). The rest of the story has yet to be told: it will depend entirely on what kind of information and images we get back from Juno.
As with CuriosityStream’s previous projects, such as Destination: Pluto, what begins as one initial episode will be expanded into a series as new information trickles back. The more they learn, the more new episodes they can create.
“Juno will give us a better understanding of the atmosphere and violence of the storms and what goes on beneath the surface,” says Elizabeth Hendricks North, president and CEO of CuriosityStream. “Right now we can only see the exterior of the planet, and there’s a wealth of information down there.”
“I expect us to learn a great deal about Jupiter in the coming months.”
As Juno transmits data, CuriosityStream works with scientists to incorporate images and interviews with state-of-the-art CGI.
Studying the data Juno sends us in the coming months has the potential to help us better understand Earth’s own evolutionary history. Even though our planet is rocky while Jupiter is gaseous, Earth still had a pattern of violent storms in our early history.
“There is a way to look back in history with a planet like Jupiter,” Hendricks North said. “Seeing its composition and formation as a whole gives scientists a better understanding of the phases of Earth’s evolution into the planet it is today. I think it’s spectacularly exciting.”
The Destination: Jupiter documentary will give viewers a closer look at the technology needed to go into such a high-radiation environment, and at just how impressive it is to sustain such a project within Jupiter’s corrosive, turbulent atmosphere. It also features interviews with principal investigator Dr. Scott Bolton and JPL project scientist Steven Levin.
In addition to Jupiter and Mars, CuriosityStream is also responsible for Destination: Mars, billing itself as “the world’s first ad-free, on-demand streaming service for documentary and nonfiction programming.”