The spacecraft is nearing a turning point and will reach the farthest point in Jupiter's orbit known as apojove on July 31.
Earlier this month, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered the orbit of Jupiter after completing a five-year journey across 1.8 billion miles of deep space and now the science community is impatiently waiting for the valuable data collected by it.
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Juno spacecraft is on a mission to study Jupiter and its eccentric atmosphere and will observe the gas giant from 2,600 miles over the top, closer than any previous Jupiter mission. During the 20-month long mission, Juno will complete 37 orbits around the planet but for now the spacecraft is nearing a turning point. On July 31, Juno will reach the farthest point in its orbit of Jupiter known as “apojove,” meaning spacecraft will be 5 million miles away from the planet.
“After that point, Jupiter’s gravitational grip on Juno will cause the spacecraft to begin falling back toward the planet for another pass, this time with its scientific eyes wide open.” NASA blog says.
Juno spacecraft was launched into the space on August 2011 and it took almost long five years to reach its intended target. Juno is only the second spacecraft to ever orbit Jupiter after Galileo that studied the giant planet from 1995 to 2003. Equipped with advanced technology and powerful instruments, Juno is expected to collect invaluable data and close up images of the planet during its deep dives into the atmosphere of the planet. But these high-resolution images will not be released until August 27 when Juno will finish it its first circle around the Jupiter.
“For five years we’ve been focused on getting to Jupiter. Now we’re there and we’re concentrating on beginning dozens of flybys of Jupiter to get the science we’re after.” Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said.
When Juno will be close enough to peek into Jupiter’s thick clouds, it will use special sensors to measure its gravity, magnetic field and water content. Juno’s observations will offer clues to planet’s own formation and evolution as well as how our solar system and its other planets originated.
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NASA will run the mission through to February 2018 with spacecraft crashing into the Jupiter.