According to Wikipedia's article on JunoCam (and I have seen other corroborating sources):

JunoCam is not one of the probe's core scientific instruments; it was put on board primarily for public science and outreach, to increase public engagement, and to make all images available on NASA's website.

The article does go on to say essentially that researchers will get what science they can out of the images.

To me the images look quite good. What are some things about the camera that make it less valuable for science than earlier cameras that were among the core scientific instruments?

Possible answers might be:

  • Images at fewer frequencies (Is that true? What particularly desirable frequencies are missing?)
  • Less suitable lens or lenses (Again, is this true? If so, in what way?)
  • Information about what you can't tell about Jupiter because of the weaknesses would be good too.
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    $\begingroup$ Different but possibly of interest: How is JunoCam different from a normal CCD camera? as well as Why was the image sensor design for Juno so… odd? and also Why are photos from Juno such low resolution? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 9 '19 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ Would there be any benefit to bringing those three links into the main body of the question? I did read them before posting the question, and I agree that they are different but of interest. $\endgroup$ Sep 9 '19 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ It's completely up to you. If it helps to define and scope your question, then it could be a good thing to do, but I don't think it's necessary. "...how bad is it as a scientific instrument?" and "What are some things about the camera that make it less valuable for science...?" are pretty clear as questions already. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 10 '19 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ Essentially it was an afterthought- as far as NASA afterthoughts go. It was well designed and well tested but was low budget and low priority. Therefore- while it's quality in terms of off the shelf tech its less than ideal overall and NASA is now spending more time processing the data than most of the data is worth. So theyre outsourcing it to the public! $\endgroup$ Sep 15 '19 at 2:38
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkFoskey Keep in mind, the fact that uhoh posted them in the comments means they were automatically added to the "Linked" section on the right-hand side of the post, and they'll stay there even if uhoh's comment is deleted. So you may not really need to add them to the body of the question. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Sep 15 '19 at 4:07

Since there's still not an answer yet, I thought I'd offer a partial answer by addressing one of your suggested areas of focus.

What particularly desirable frequencies are missing?

To determine what is "desirable", let's compare to another Jupiter orbiter: Galileo. Galileo also had a CCD, the Solid-State Imager (SSI), which operated in the spectral range of 350-1100 nm. This means that it could capture some near-ultraviolet (completely out of range for Junocam) and more of near-infrared (Junocam stops at 900 nm). However, as SSI lacked a filter for the near-ultraviolet range, I doubt that specific capacity gave it much of a science advantage over Junocam. On the other hand, SSI did have multiple filters in the near-infrared range, and the filter at 986 nm provided it the capacity to capture electronic absorption features near 1000 nm, as in the reflection spectra of iron-bearing minerals.

Would the capacity for Junocam to capture imaging in that range be of science value? I'm not qualified to say, but it seems plausible to me that if Junocam had this capacity some additional science could be done with it.



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