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Exploration of Jupiter brings new era

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Liliana Castañeda
Staff Writer

Theo Clarke gave a presentation titled “Juno, a New Renaissance,” at the Harris Gallery Monday.

The room was full to the brim with interested onlookers as they filed in to discuss the convergence of art and science through the most recent renaissance in human history.

Clarke, a renowned scientist and engineer, has participated in various science exploration projects including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mariner 10 mission to Venus and Mercury, and the Voyager mission to the outer planets.

His presentation and one-hour lecture shared his observations and the creative process of the Juno spacecraft, which is currently orbiting Jupiter.

“This married both science, art and mythology in a way that I had never understood before. I’m going to visit more websites after seeing the presentation, it’s that sort of thing where I got a taste for something, now a new door has opened,” said Dion Johnson, director of galleries.

Clarke provided three consistent factors of differing renaissance periods throughout history, otherwise known as peace, the acquisition of knowledge and the distribution of it.

He used the classic Renaissance period from 1300-1600 A.D. as an example, which was a peaceful time period where astronomers were learning new information and, in turn, spread it to the public through the printing press.

Juno was named after the Greek goddess married to Jupiter, which expanded the correlation of art and creativity and its simultaneous flourish with knowledge, he said.

Jupiter’s moons are named in relevance to the Roman god and the many women he had manipulated into affairs.

“Juno will penetrate the clouds of Jupiter to learn the secrets of Jupiter,” Clarke said.

He claimed our current era as the new renaissance, a relatively peaceful period with Juno being the aquirer of knowledge, and the internet having the ability to disperse the knowledge through photography, video simulations and pop culture.

In one slide, Juno was portrayed through a Lego set portraying three Greek gods.

“I didn’t know much about Juno going into it, but I thought it was really cool when he explained the new findings and how it allowed for interdisciplinary discussion when he combined it [topics],” said Hannah Chadwick, junior history major.

The Juno spacecraft is the first to use solar panels to run instead of nuclear energy, and until the exploration the moons of Jupiter had never been seen, he said.

Juno was able to capture the eclipses of Jupiter’s moons by taking one picture every 15 minutes.

After the pictures were put together in a movie, they appeared to be almost like fireflies entranced with the giant planet, each moon blinking at different periods of its orbit around Jupiter.

“It’s entirely new information but I liked the way he talked about the building process, and how he compared it to the sculptural process in art,” Jennifer Vanderpool, adjunct professor of art, said.

Liliana Castañeda can be reached at liliana.castaneda@laverne.edu.

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