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juno arrives on orbit | by Robert Couse-Baker
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juno arrives on orbit

After traveling 1.8 billion-miles, Juno is scheduled to enter Jupiter's orbit July 5, 2016. NASA and the JPL will use a suite of instruments to study the composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere of the largest planet in our Solar System. A highly elliptical polar orbit will take the 3,625 kg spacecraft deep into gas giant’s intense magnetic field. Titanium armor a centimeter thick is hoped to protect electronics from the equivalent of 100 million dental X-rays. Even then, some instruments are not expected to survive all 37 planned orbits. The mission will conclude in February 2018 when Juno is scheduled fly into into the Jovian atmosphere and vaporize. The fiery demise is to ensure Earth microbes don't end up contaminating any of Jupiter's moons .


Fun fact: Juno is carrying Legos representing the Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno and the astronomer Galileo Galilei.




Photo illustration using three images:


Jupiter by Voyager 1, February 1979 and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)


Juno spacecraft bus, Artist's rendering, 2010 by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


Milky Way, composite of images made at European Southern Observatory (ESO) observatories at La Silla and Paranal in Chile, 14 September 2009 CC BY 4.0 by ESO


The illustration likely does not accurately depict the state or position of the Jovian clouds, however the inclination of the planet to the plane of the galaxy is likely fairly close.



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Taken on July 3, 2016