What You Need To Know About NASA's Juno Spacecraft
It’s crunch time for Juno, which is due to be captured in Jupiter’s orbit in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Juno’s mission is to study Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.
It’s named after the Roman goddess who was Jupiter’s wife. “In Greek and Roman mythology, Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief. It was Jupiter’s wife, the goddess Juno, who was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter’s true nature,” according to NASA.
The spacecraft set off from Earth in August 2011 and will have travelled 1,740 million miles by the time it reaches orbit around Jupiter.
Jupiter was only 445 million miles away from Earth when Juno set off (and is currently around 540 million miles away) but the spacecraft took a roundabout path to the gas giant so it could use Earth’s gravity as a catapult.
Once Juno is in orbit it will stay there for 20 months, flying round the gas giant 37 times in total.
To begin with, Juno will orbit Jupiter once every 53.5 days. Then, in October, the engine will fire again and propel it into a 14-day orbit for the main science part of its mission.
NASA / Via youtube.com