NASA’s Juno spacecraft made all the headlines this past Fourth of July as it successfully went into orbit around Jupiter after a five-year journey—and deservedly so. But not many people realized the significance of the name.
In Roman mythology, Juno was the god Jupiter’s wife—and Jupiter had one hell of a roaming eye. Before it reached its current orbit, Juno passed by the four largest moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These are all lovers of Zeus (the Greek counterpart of Jupiter) in Greek mythology—three women and one dude, because apparently Zeus swung both ways.
This fact did not escape singer/songwriter and self-professed nerd Adam Sakellarides, who wrote a song and accompanying music video for the occasion, and was geeking out with everyone else at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during Monday night’s orbital insertion maneuver.
“It was so exciting to be there at JPL and watch all the scientists and engineers go through the process,” he told Scientific American. And while he heard his song was a big hit with many of the mission’s scientists, “I’m assuming they couldn’t be too public about it, as my song is a little more PG-13 than NASA’s own video about the myth.”
Based in Los Angeles, Sakellarides mostly sings about “love, science, politics, socially awkward people.” He has previously penned a tune about the Curiosity rover, along with songs about Star Trek and zombies. So composing a song to commemorate Juno as a jealous wife’s revenge was a natural fit.
You can download the full song here.
Thanks to commenter Eldritch for reminding us that Ganymede was indeed male. This post has been updated to reflect that.