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Friday, 5 August 2011

NASA's Jupiter-Bound "Juno" Mission Launches Successfully

Artist's Impression of Juno circling Jupiter.
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Just a few minutes ago, NASA successfully launched the unmanned spacecraft Juno into Space. The solar-powered spacecraft will spend the next five years travelling to its destination, the gas giant Jupiter - the largest planet in our solar system.

Juno's aim is to study Jupiter's atmosphere and its gravitational and magnetic fields. The hope is that this data will give clues to Jupiter's origins. For example, if Juno detects a high concentration of water in Jupiter's atmosphere, that would suggest that Jupiter might have formed further out in the Solar System and gradually drifted to its current position.

Juno's year-long study will end in dramatic fashion, with the probe plunging deep into the depths of Jupiter and being destroyed.

See the Juno mission page from NASA:

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