It has been five long years since Juno left the planet earth with its sights on Pluto; Juno has finally gone through the solar system and now reached its destination. Juno is now traveling at a massive 250,000 kilometer per hour.
This $1.13 billion mission was launched back in 2011, and ever since then until date, the team may not have experienced a more dangerous phase as what happened at 11:18 pm yesterday when Juno initiated its final approach procedures. This final approach was very critical, as Juno needed to insert itself into the orbit around Jupiter since it would not be safe to fly past it or crash into it. To be able to insert itself into Jupiter, it needed to ignite its main engine for about 35 minutes.
The burn is now completed, and Juno has started its 37 orbits around Jupiter; during this orbit, it will be diving through Jupiter’s radiation belts and going as far as 3,000 miles from Jupiter’s cloud tops. Well, it’s really cool, as Juno has been given a suite of scientific instruments, so it will be providing data that will help to improve our understanding of Jupiter’s formation and evolution.
The spacecraft was named after the Roman goddess, Jupiter’s wife. Juno will help scientists get a chance of seeing below Jupiter’s dense cloud cover, a feat that has never been met.