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JunoCam Pictures Are Places of Science to Meet Art and NASA Meet Public



Science and art each teach us to see the world in a different way – and Candice Hansen lives in both worlds simultaneously, thanks to his role in leading JunoCam, a crowdsourced public outreach camera on the Juno mission ship while orbiting Jupiter.

"I can tell you as a scientist that people do things with our data that I will never do, but they have given me a completely new picture of what Jupiter looks like," Hansen said at a press conference at the annual meeting of America. . The Geophysical Union was held in Washington earlier this month. "[Artists] really broadens my own perception of what Jupiter looks like. "

Hansen sat with Space.com after his presentation to talk more about his work with JunoCam and how art and science inform each other. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. [In Photos: Juno’s Amazing Views of Jupiter]

Space.com: How was the success of this program accepted in the NASA community, and what would you say to people about trying to recreate its success?

Candice Hansen: It's been quite well received. There are some pros and cons that I want to explain. This is a great way to engage the public and I think people feel real ownership in that sense and we get tremendous contributions from the amateur community. What's wrong is that we get great science data from our outreach cameras, and we really don't have a science team to analyze it …

One of the so-called brown barge features seen by JunoCam on Jupiter, which was photographed on September 6, 2018.

One of the so-called brown barge features seen by JunoCam on Jupiter, which was photographed on September 6, 2018.

Credit: Kevin M. Gill / NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS

There is so much data in it that can be used to understand what is happening on Jupiter. Just cataloging where the pop-up storm is and the pressure appears as I thought, looking at the structure. We do have paper on the structure of the Great Red Spot, but now I see this chocolate barge and think, you know, they really can use some similar treatment. … We have enough images to do this time lapse sequence where you can plan this little white cloud, very helpful as a small marker for atmospheric circulation. … what's great is, I think people love us; the downside is, without a team of scientists to analyze the data, the data is analyzed but is quite slow.

So, if I advise NASA, I think I would say, "Do this again, but include a few scientists in the team, and don't just throw everything into the public."

Space.com: Can you talk about how this project has changed your perspective about the relationship between art and science?

Hansen: Where you even draw a line [between art and science]? I can't draw that line anymore. I think I can. But I found that in the first month putting our data on the web that was impossible, because the things that the art community did with color gave rise to a much clearer structure than when you saw that. quiet pastel version of the planet, which does look like that.

You can put them side by side and you can go, "Oh, yes, there is that feature, here and there, here," but this one appears in the eye-brain collaboration in your head, and the pastel doesn't interest you in the same way. Just looking at Jupiter, I see it in a different way and because of all these amazing colors – enhanced colors, excessive colors, artificial colors in some cases – that's what happens.

A series of images taken on April 1, 2018, when Juno passed Jupiter's north pole, and then processed by amateurs JunoCam showed off a high-altitude fog ribbon.

A series of images taken on April 1, 2018, when Juno passed Jupiter's north pole, and then processed by amateurs JunoCam showed off a high-altitude fog ribbon.

Credit: Gerald Eichstadt / John Rogers / NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS

And then one picture that I show today with the North Pole and fog, I mean, I can see it hanging on my wall, but there are so many details in it with high fog and why they make those beautiful little arches rotate, and there knowledge there to be understood. But you can also hang it on the wall and enjoy it. For me, the boundary is very blurred from the way I think. [Jupiter Up Close: Tour the 1st Amazing Flyby Photos by NASA’s Juno Probe]

Space.com: Are there certain structures or types of features that you have never noticed before seeing them in this picture?

Hansen: This pop-up storm, for example. It's perijove 6 and lighting – changing lighting on each track because of the way the orbit moves – and perijove 6 has perfect lighting to see this pop-up storm. When we get data for the southern tropical zone and are covered with them, I, like, "Good master. I don't remember seeing that before." So I returned, I saw Voyager and Cassini and several other missions, and the clouds were there, the pop-up storm was there, but every previous mission that had been flown by or orbited Jupiter had a large telescope.

JunoCam saw many small white pop-up storms on October 29, 2018, during February 16.

JunoCam saw many small white pop-up storms on October 29, 2018, during February 16.

Credit: Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran / NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS

One of the obstacles to our camera is the mass so we only have a small telescope, which means we have to be really close to Jupiter to see the same resolution as the mission carried out far away. But we have a field of view of 58 degrees; more typically the large telescope has a very narrow field of view, so it's half a degree. So when I come back and I compare our resolution to the same resolution as the other missions, of course, there is a little white cloud there, a little bright cloud, but when you only see this [tiny piece] Jupiter, you don't realize that the entire southern tropical zone is covered with them.

That is an eye opener. They are there, they are in the picture but because you only see a small piece of Jupiter, it's out of context. Even now they don't look like they're in Perijove six because on Perijove six they all throw small shadows and it's just punching you-in-nose clear, whereas now I'm, like, "Yes, they are still there, there they are "but they are not that clear.

Space.com: Is something really changing for you with Juno and JunoCam that is contrary to your previous experience?

Hansen: Relying on the public is a leap of faith. Because there is no guarantee that anyone will appear. There was a kind of time point where I was a little afraid that no one would come to my party. But it does not last long.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow him @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook. Original article on Space.com.


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