On Independence Day, Juno will enter Jupiter’s orbit

At approximately 11:18pm ET on July 4th, a 35-minute maneuver to enter into Jupiter’s atmosphere.

Juno was originally launched on Aug. 5, 2011 and is scheduled to maneuver into orbit around the solar system’s largest planet on Monday (July 4). The probe will then study Jupiter for at least a year, mapping out magnetic and gravity fields, characterizing the planet’s atmosphere and performing other science work over the course of dozens of orbits.

Juno, solar-powered has flown more than 1.7 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers) on its way, and now less than 48 hours away from Jupiter’s atmosphere, the planet’s tremendous gravitational pull will accelerate the spacecraft to blazing speeds of more than 150,000 mph (241,000 km/h).

After reaching a max speed of 165,000 mph (266,000 km/h) it will enter a 35 minute engine  fire, burning through 17,600 pounds (7,900 kg) of fuel in the process.

If all goes according to plan, Juno will be placed into orbit around Jupiter, where the spacecraft will remain over the next 18 months.

If something goes wrong, the US$1.13 billion mission will likely hurl the craft deeper into space in what presumably will be an endless flight until it eventually makes impact with an asteroid.








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