NASA’s Juno spacecraft travelled 1.7 billion miles, in 5 years, at 165000 miles an hour to reach orbit around the planet Jupiter. Only one problem: it was 1 second late.
Thanks to Alice for pointing this out in This Week.
(note: Jupiter is the Roman version of the ancient Greek chief god, Zeus. Juno is the Roman version of the ancient goddess Hera, consort of Zeus.) Jupiter is largest planet in our star’s system.
What is our name for our star?
Juno spacecraft enters Jupiter’s orbit source This Week
Ringo Chiu/AFP/Getty Images
Nearly five years after its launch, NASA’s Juno spacecraft achieved orbit around Jupiter late Monday.
At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Southern California, thrilled scientists received a signal from the spacecraft at 11:53 p.m. Eastern time announcing it was in orbit after a 35-minute engine burn. The most difficult part of the entrance took place at around 10:30 p.m., when Juno passed through a belt of radiation where electrons went back and forth at nearly the speed of light and could have easily fried the spacecraft’s electronics, but they were protected by a titanium vault.
The largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter was likely the first planet formed after the sun and scientists say it could “hold the keys to understanding the origin of the solar system,” The New York Timesreports. “Juno is really searching for some hints about our beginnings, how everything started,” Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator, said. “But these secrets are pretty well guarded by Jupiter.” The craft’s instruments were designed to measure the magnetic and gravitational fields of Jupiter, and its cameras will likely capture images of new moons. Juno’s scientific instruments were turned off before it arrived at Jupiter, and will be turned back on in two days. On Aug. 27, the spacecraft will get its first up-close look at the planet. Catherine Garcia