NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Will Reach Jupiter Soon

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Will Reach Jupiter Soon

The Juno spacecraft created by NASA is currently traveling closer and closer to the largest planet in our solar system – Jupiter. It looks like the spacecraft will actually reach the planet on July 4 thus completing its 372 million-mile trip through the Solar System. Once it reaches its destination, Juno will perform 37 close approaches in order to collect very important data for scientists here on our home planet. As long as everything goes according to plan, there’s quite a bit of information to receive, as the craft will be able to explore Jupiter closer than any other vehicle in history. That’s impressive!

It’s worth nothing that the mission will not be easy to complete, mainly because of the gas giant’s atmosphere, which is able to dish out an enormous amount of pressure due to the planet’s fast rotation. Since one day on Jupiter only lasts 10 hours, a powerful magnetic field is being maintained all the times, not to mention the high levels of radiation and atmospheric pressure. Juno’s program executive, Diane Brown, had a few words to say about this ambitious project:

“At this time last year our New Horizons spacecraft was closing in for humanity’s first close views of Pluto. Now, Juno is poised to go closer to Jupiter than any spacecraft ever before to unlock the mysteries of what lies within.”

Project manager Rick Nybakken also shared his input regarding the mission:

“Over the life of the mission, Juno will be exposed to the equivalent of over 100 million dental X-rays. But, we are ready. We designed an orbit around Jupiter that minimizes exposure to Jupiter’s harsh radiation environment. This orbit allows us to survive long enough to obtain the tantalizing science data that we have traveled so far to get.”

Apparently, Juno is incredibly well-armored, and it also features a sturdy titanium vault that shelters its main computer. This vault weighs 400 pounds and was designed to reduce the amount of radiation impact on the instruments 800 times when compared to the surrounding environment. Even so, the vault will become compromised over time, which is why Juno will only be able to operate for about 20 more months before it blacks out on us.

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