Late last night, or early this morning depending on your time zone, NASA’s Juno spacecraft completed a successful insertion into Jupiter’s orbit. The maneuver, considered the most risky of the entire mission was televised live (about as live as you can get due to the 35+ minute signal delay from the giant planet) via NASA. Take a look at the little probe that could:
Why is this mission important? Juno will be only the second close-up look we will have had of the giant planet, and the science that it helps to complete promises to give further clues about our solar system and Earth itself. Juno takes its name from the Greek goddess, who was the wife of Jupiter and subsequently exposed Jupiter’s…immoral…endeavors, which he had been trying to hide. The Juno spacecraft is also meant to expose Jupiter, but in a much less embarrassing, and much more useful, manner…
Even Google got in on the Juno jubilation:
Here are some quick facts about Juno’s ongoing mission:
- Launched: August 5, 2011
- Arrived: July 4, 2016
- Total time to reach Jupiter: 5 years
- Total distance travelled to reach Jupiter: About 19 AU, which included an Earth gravity assist in 2013 (For those playing the home game, the distance from Earth to Jupiter ranges from 4 to 6 AU. Why didn’t Juno fly straight to Jupiter? Because planets move, making even a manned Mars mission difficult…)
- Speed approaching the Jovian system: 74 km/s
- Current speed: 0.5 km/s
- Current orbital period: 53 days
- Orbital period after a realignment in October 2016: 14 days
- Total planned “science orbits” after realignment: 33
- Projected end of mission: After a total of 37 orbits in February 2018, after which Juno will plunge into Jupiter’s atmosphere, incinerated in a fiery cataclysm of space exploration awesomeness.
- Lego minifigures on board: 3 (seriously)
- Twitter accounts: 1 (@NASAJuno)
Until I can post some of the sure to be wonderful pictures from the Juno mission and other tidbits, which might be a while considering I am currently a tad busy*, keep looking up!
Todoa gloria a Dios.
*Speaking of which, a new Aventuras post will be coming up in a couple of days. You can check out the last one here.