5 years ago, on 5th August 2011, NASA launched a spinning, robotic probe as wide as a basketball court, famously known as the Juno Spacecraft from Cape Canaveral for Jupiter, and finally the spacecraft will begin orbiting Jupiter on Monday, 4th of July. The spacecraft will perform a 35-minute long, as NASA calls, “suspenseful” manoeuvre which will allow Juno to be pulled into the orbit around Jupiter.

Juno spacecraft is near Jupiter

Scott Bolton, the principal investigator of the project, said in a press release, “We are ready. The science team is incredibly excited to be arriving at Jupiter.” The spacecraft will circle the largest planet in the Solar System for 37 times over the next 20 months, diving down to nearly 2,600 miles (4,100 kilometres) above the Jupiter’s dense clouds.

Rick Nybakken , the Juno Project Manager, told CNN “Some of the challenges are we are going to the most treacherous place in the entire solar system, radiation fields that are really intense.” Juno is designed with seven science instruments to assist the scientists figuring out how Jupiter formed and evolved. Jupiter is the 5th planet from the Sun and a massive ball of gas which is 11 times wider than Earth. Many scientists believe that Jupiter was the first planet to form and thus holds clues regarding how the solar system evolved.

Further Bolton added, “”One of the primary goals of Juno is to learn the recipe for solar systems. How do you make the solar system? How do you make the planets in our solar system?”

Researchers are trying to figure out some puzzles regarding this gas giant through this Juno Project. They are finding the answers to some important questions, such as does Jupiter have a solid core? What is going on under the planet’s dense clouds? How much water Jupiter have in its atmosphere? And most importantly what are the mysterious giant red spot hold and how deep those colourful bands are?

Juno will keep searching for the answers to those mysterious questions by looking at Jupiter’s interior. It will orbit the poles of the planet and will try to dodge the Jupiter’s most hazardous radiation belts. Juno even comes with a shielded electronics vault to protect itself from the radiation.

Apart from these, Juno also features a colour camera and three LEGO crew members. The camera which is dubbed as the JunoCam will take “spectacular close-up, color images” of the planet and three LEGO crews represent Galileo Galilei, the scientist who discovered Jupiter’s four largest moons, the Roman god Jupiter and his wife, Juno.

If we talk about the specifications of the Juno Spacecraft, its body measures 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) tall and 11.5 feet in diameter. But as the spacecraft includes three giant solar panels, spans about 66 feet (20 meters), almost a size of a basketball court. The ‘Juno Mission’ will end on February 20, 2018, when the spacecraft is expected to crash into the planet.

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