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Spacecraft Juno Arrives to Jupiter


July 4, 2016

After nearly 5 years of flight, spacecraft Juno will arrive at the planet Jupiter.  The last spacecraft to orbit Jupiter was Galileo in 1995.  Juno derives its name from Jupiter’s wife, a goddess who "peered through the veil of clouds and saw the deity’s true nature".

The downside of this event, however, is that Juno’s instruments will be switched off on its first pass in order to survive Jupiter’s extreme radiation environment. So there is no need to get excited. Juno’s next close approach, with accompanying snapshots, won’t be until August.  Juno will perform two 53-day loops until it settles into its normal routine in November and orbits over the poles of Jupiter, a mission unlike all others.

The significance of the July 4th arrival is that Juno succeeds its orbital insertion.  Our celestial environment, or universe, is literally based on the ability of natural and artificial bodies to maintain an orbit.