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March 10, 2003

Many moons
Posted by Teresa at 09:53 PM *

A dozen more moons have been found orbiting Jupiter, all of them small, with distant retrograde orbits. This brings Jupiter’s total up to 52 and counting.

This latest batch hasn’t yet been named, but I expect they’ll stick to the convention of naming them after Jove’s amours. How providential that that happens to be one of the most densely populated categories in Greek mythology.

Comments on Many moons:
#1 ::: Bill Higgins ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2003, 07:46 PM:

I'm still waiting for them to find a small, icy Jovian satellite far from Jupiter in a more or less equatorial orbit.

I want one to use as a refueling base for fleets of robot spaceships that explore the whole Jovian system. Surface crawlers, sample returns, orbiters, magnetosphere probes, atmospheric floaters, the whole works. There's just so much science to be done.

So far, no luck. Most of the little ones are in highly inclined, retrograde orbits. Maybe we can work something out with gravity slingshot tricks, using the big moons to change inclinations and other orbital parameters, the way the Galileo orbiter did.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2003, 07:30 AM:

May you get your wish.

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