Pretty much the biggest thing since sliced bread, NASA now has access to what Jupiter looks like.
A great 4th of July for our American friends, as a five year-long journey reached its successful destination on Monday evening.
On July 4, 2011, Juno launched into space on an Atlas V551 Rocket in a quest to reach Jupiter. Using solar energy and the Earth’s orbital momentum, the spacecraft made its journey to Jupiter, and on Monday the space agency received a signal from 540 million miles (nearly 870 million kilometres) away confirming the successful orbit around the gas giant.
On February 20, 2018, Juno will make its way down to the surface of Jupiter and end its mission, ensuring the spacecraft doesn’t drift off into Europa, the sixth-closest moon of Jupiter, which is regarded as one of the likelier places for life elsewhere in the solar system.
“Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America’s birthday another reason to cheer – Juno is at Jupiter,” said NASA administrator Charlie Bolden. “And what is more American than a NASA mission going boldly where no spacecraft has gone before? With Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter’s massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet’s interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved.”
Using NASA’s “Eyes on the Solar System” app, along with simulated data from Juno, you’re able to ride along the spacecraft, in realtime, during the spacecraft’s entire mission. Visit “Eyes on Juno” for more information and to download the app.
— NASA (@NASA) July 5, 2016
— NASA (@NASA) July 4, 2016
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 5, 2016