New Delhi: NASA's Juno spacecraft is all set to make its rendezvous with Jupiter next month after an almost five-year journey.
The Juno mission seeks to unclock secrets about the origin of Jupiter, which is huge and powerful, as well as the origion of the entire solar system.
NASA will hold news briefings, photo opportunities and other media events at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California and and air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
In the evening of July 4, the solar-powered spacecraft will perform a suspenseful orbit insertion maneuver, a 35-minute burn of its main engine, to slow the spacecraft by about 1,212 miles per hour (542 meters per second) so it can be captured into the gas giant’s orbit.
Once in Jupiter’s orbit, the spacecraft will circle the Jovian world 37 times during 20 months, skimming to within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops.
NASA TV will provide live coverage of orbit insertion on July 4, beginning at 10:30 pm.
This is the first time a spacecraft will orbit the poles of Jupiter, providing new answers to ongoing mysteries about the planet’s core, composition and magnetic fields.
Juno will also be the second probe to orbit Jupiter, after Galileo spacecraft which orbited from 1995-2003.