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Cool image time! The image on the right shows what anyone can do if they want to play with images that have been taken by the Juno spacecraft. On top is the raw Juno image of a storm on Jupiter. On the bottom is that same storm after significant processing by an ordinary citizen. A larger version can be seen here.
While the Juno science team’s policy of making all their raw images available to the public is routine for a NASA mission, they are doing something a bit different by allowing the public to play with the images and then upload them on a Juno website for everyone to see. While some of the subsequent images have been a little silly, the image on the right illustrates how this policy can help scientists (and the public) better study the atmosphere on Jupiter. The processing has brought out all the storm’s swirls and twirls, and shown clearly how chaotic the storms are in Jupiter’s high latitudes.
The scientists don’t have the resources or the time to do this kind of processing on every image, or even every piece of every image. Allowing the public to do it will increase the variety of results and make it more likely for everyone to gain some understanding of what is going on in the gas giant’s atmosphere. Or not, but then that’s okay, as a realization that we don’t understand something is the first step towards wisdom and real knowledge.