NASA Burns Juno Spacecraft Engine To Reach Jupiter By July 4

Posted: Feb 8 2016, 4:06am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


NASA Burns Juno Spacecraft Engine to Reach Jupiter by July 4
Launching from Earth in 2011, the Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter in 2016 to study the giant planet from an elliptical, polar orbit. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • NASA Juno Space Vehicle gets ready for Jupiter

The NASA Juno space vehicle is getting ready for Jupiter.

NASA announced that variations had been made in its Juno space vehicle. The piece of technology is on a one way course to the planet Jupiter. An engine burn got carried out on Thursday.

"This is the first of two trajectory adjustments that fine tune Juno's orbit around the sun, perfecting our rendezvous with Jupiter on July 4th at 8:18 p.m. PDT [11:18 p.m. EDT]," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

The Juno spacecraft's thrusters got an additional boost via this methodology. The arrival of the spacecraft on the solar system’s largest planet is a much-awaited event.

NASA's Juno has solar cell panels on its exterior and it is currently 425 million miles from earth. The rest of the journey to Jupiter is approximately 51 million miles.   

The two adjustments that have been made in the Juno spacecraft this week will align it further in synch with the orbit it is in around our sun. And so on July 4th, it will meet up with the planet Jupiter.

The engine burn used up 1.3 pounds of the reserve fuel. Also its speed changed by 0.7 mph. By the end of May, the second engine burn will occur. Launched about half a decade ago, the $1.1 billion mission is on a trip to test the conditions of Jupiter. 

The gravity on Jupiter along with its magnetic fields will get studied in depth. This will lend vital clues as to the structural-functional features of the biggest planet of the solar system.

The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter at least 33 times. The closest it will come to the planet is at 5000 km where it will be near the clouds. It is just 5 months till the Juno spacecraft reaches Jupiter. Jupiter’s evolution and formation will be explored in depth via this spacecraft.

The 30 foot long solar panels of the spacecraft hold a total of 18,698 solar cells. The spacecraft’s name Juno comes from ancient Graeco-Roman mythology. Juno was the pagan god Jupiter’s wife that revealed his actual nature.  

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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