Juno Spacecraft

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Juno will improve our understanding of the solar system’s beginnings by revealing the origin and evolution of Jupiter.

Specifically, Juno will…

Determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed)

Look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties

Map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure

Explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especi ally the auroras – Jupiter’s northern and southern lights – providing new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere.

The Giant Planet Story is the Story of the Solar System

Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.

With its suite of science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras.

Juno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest

Juno Headed to Jupiter!

An Atlas V rocket lofted the Juno spacecraft toward Jupiter from Space Launch Complex-41. The 4-ton Juno spacecraft will take five years to reach Jupiter on a mission to study its structure and decipher its history. Liftoff occurred at 12:25 p.m

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Spacecraft & Instruments

The Juno spacecraft launched aboard an Atlas V-551 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Aug. 5, 2011, and will reach Jupiter in July 2016. The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter 32 times, skimming to within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops, for approximately one year.

Juno uses a spinning solar-powered spacecraft in a highly elliptical polar orbit that avoids most of Jupiter’s high radiation regions. The designs of the individual instruments are straightforward and the mission does not require the development of any new technologies. 

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