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Juno Spacecraft Enters Jupiter's Orbit and Will Reveal the Planet's Secrets

Antonia R.Antonia R.

Five years after NASA launched the Juno spacecraft from Earth, it has finally arrived at Jupiter's orbit to study the largest planet in our Solar System in greater detail.

The name "Juno" refers to the Roman goddess, wife of Jupiter, who was the King of the Gods, according to Roman mythology.

Just a few hours after midnight on July 5th, Juno was at its closest to Jupiter's polar orbit. The spacecraft was flying at 40 mi (64 km) per second and fired its main engine just minutes before it would have otherwise collided with the gas giant.

Juno's mission around the planet is going to last 18 months and it's planned to complete 37 orbits around it.

The spacecraft is going to be 2900 mi (4667 km) from the planet - just above the clouds swirling all around Jupiter.

One of Juno's missions is to find out more about the polar aurora that was spotted on Jupiter not too long ago. The study is also expected to yield more information about the gas giant's composition and atmosphere.

Image: NASA

NASA scientists are hoping that their spacecraft mission will reveal the exact amount of water on the largest planet in the Solar System. This is going to shed more light about the formation of our planetary system and Earth.

The distance between Jupiter and the Sun is 5 times greater than that between Earth and the Sun. This has made scientists theorize that Jupiter formed somewhere else from its current location, then moved and pushed the planets before it closer to our star with its gravity.

The potential danger for the spacecraft getting so close to Jupiter is the high pressure from its hydrogen layer, making it like a powerful electrical conductor.

Jupiter completes a full revolution about its axis in just 10 Earth hours, creating a stronger magnetic field. To protect the spacecraft, scientists have encased it in a hard shell of titanium that's supposed to decrease the amount of radiation exposure by up to 800 times.