Nasa's Juno spacecraft creates history by entering Jupiter's orbit
NASA's $1.1 billion unmanned Juno spacecraft successfully slipped into orbit around Jupiter on a mission to study Jupiter's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California erupted in cheers as Juno, which has traveled 1.7 billion miles (2.7 billion kilometers) since it launched five years ago from Cape Canaveral, Florida, successfully entered its aimed-for orbit around Jupiter at 11:53pm (03:53 GMT on Tuesday).
The spacecraft was traveling at a speed of more than 209,200 kilometres per hour when it fired its engines to slow down enough to be captured into Jupiter's orbit.
Juno is the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, following the Galileo probe which orbited from 1995–2003. It will search for clues about how Jupiter was formed, including whether it has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, mass distribution, and its deep winds, which can reach speeds of 618 kilometers per hour (384 mph).
Earlier such Mission :
Galileo, launched in 1989, circled Jupiter for nearly a decade, beaming back splendid views of the planet and its numerous moons. It uncovered signs of an ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon Europa, considered a top target in the search for life outside Earth. That spacecraft found evidence of subsurface saltwater on Jupiter's moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto before making a final plunge into Jupiter in 2003.
Facts about Juno (spacecraft) :
Naming : The spacecraft's name comes from Greco-Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, but his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and see Jupiter's true nature.
It is powered by solar arrays, commonly used by satellites orbiting Earth and working in the inner Solar System. Even so, Juno is expected to get blasted with radiation equal to more than 100 million dental X-rays during the mission.
Juno has three solar array wings, the largest ever deployed on a planetary probe, will play an integral role in stabilizing the spacecraft and generating power.
Facts about Jupiter :
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It has mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined.
Jupiter is a gas giant. It is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium. It is known for its Great Red Spot because of a storm (bigger than size of Earth) that has been raging for hundreds of years.
Diameter: 142000km (11times size of earth)
Composition: Hydrogen (90%) and Helium (10%).
Known moons: 67 (Io, Europa, Ganymede & Callisto)
Orbit Distance: 778,340,821 km (5.20 AU)
Orbit Period: 4,333 days (11.9 years)
Length of day: 10 hours.
Average temperature: -145 degree Celsius.
Volume: 1329 Earths could fit inside Jupiter.