NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully enters Jupiter’s orbit after a five-year journey. Witness it on NASA TV or below.
“All stations on Juno co-ord, we have the tone for burn cut-off on Delta B,” Juno Mission Control announces. “Roger Juno, welcome to Jupiter.”
BBC reports that the space agency’s mission control in Pasadena, California cheered wildly as the spacecraft arrived at the largest planet in the solar system. Radio messages reveal that the burn lasted 35 minutes, 2 seconds, about one second off the prediction.
The Juno spacecraft is the first spacecraft to pass close to the gas giant. Despite this, the scientists were actually apprehensive of what may happen. They said that intense radiation belts could damage the spacecraft and ruin the mission. Experts estimated that the radiation emitted is akin to a million dental x-rays.
The spacecraft will circle Jupiter for up to 37 times within 20 months. It will come as close as 4,100 kilometers or 2,600 miles above the planet’s clouds.
Juno carries science instruments on board that will help gather more information about Jupiter’s auroras. Its mission will also shed light into Jupiter’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Recently, NASA released a picture of Jupiter’s auroras. The observations were made on May 19 and were transformed into a time-lapse video.