NASA Launches Spacecraft to Jupiter

On Friday, August 5th, the spacecraft Juno was launched on a journey of five years toward Jupiter to try and discover what our biggest planet in the solar system is made of. Juno is a solar powered billion dollar spacecraft and is a satellite observatory that is unmanned. It was sent into space on the one hundred ninety seven foot tall rocket called Atlas V.

NASA scientists are hoping that Jupiter will tell its secrets and that the spacecraft will help them to know more about the evolution and origins of the solar system. The space craft will arrive at Jupiter in the year 2016 and orbit the poles of Jupiter, the gas giant.

This is NASA’s first mission to Jupiter since 1989 when it put Galileo in space. Galileo entered Jupiter’s orbit in 1995 and its life was ended in 2002 when it plunged into the planet. NASA is aiming for thirty orbits in a year. This spacecraft will be closer than any spacecraft from NASA to Jupiter. Juno is the first spacecraft to do a polar orbit of Jupiter. The primary goal of this spacecraft is to probe how the solar system and Jupiter came about.

The spacecraft is designed to learn how Jupiter was formed and about the beginning of our solar system. It will do this by looking at the ingredients necessary for planet formation and measuring them to find the recipe. In its first two years of the mission it will orbit around our Sun, and then fly by Earth so it can be boosted into space and finally a three year path on its way to Jupiter.

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