Spend Your Independence Day Watching NASA's Juno Spacecraft Arrive at Jupiter

Monday, 04 July 2016 - 5:00AM
Space
Solar System
Monday, 04 July 2016 - 5:00AM
Spend Your Independence Day Watching NASA's Juno Spacecraft Arrive at Jupiter
Fireworks, grilling, and family gatherings are all hallmarks of July 4th celebrations, but if ever there was a year to break with tradition, 2016 is the one. At approximately 10:30pm EDT today, NASA's Juno probe will start its final approach to Jupiter, reaching a major milestone in a journey that will eventually see the spacecraft travel just shy of two billion miles. At 11:18pm, Juno will fire its thrusters for a 35 minute-long burn that will see it enter the orbit of our Solar System's largest planet. So, while you're winding down your Independence Day celebrations, be sure to head indoors and celebrate another landmark moment in the history of this country's greatest institution....NASA.

You can watch all the action unfold live with the stream below, and if you want more facts on the Juno mission, check out Everything You Need to Know About Juno before the stream kicks off at 10:30pm today.



Opening quote
"We are ready," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno. "The science team is incredibly excited to be arriving at Jupiter. The engineers and mission controllers are performing at an Olympic level getting Juno successfully into orbit. As Juno barrels down on Jupiter, the scientists are busy looking at the amazing approach science the spacecraft has already returned to Earth. Jupiter is spectacular from afar and will be absolutely breathtaking from close up."
Closing quote

While Juno's approach is sure to be a spectacular moment, it will also be incredibly tense. Should anything go wrong with the crucial thruster burn at 11:18pm this evening, the spacecraft could end up shooting past the planet at speeds of up to 165,000mph – that's fast enough to fly around the Earth in just 9 minutes! 


Credit: NASA


Once Juno successfully enters Jupiter's orbit it will spend the next 18 months circling the behemoth planet, taking crucial measurements and gathering data that could revolutionize the way we look at the gas giant, our solar system, and even our own planet. Over those 18 months, Juno will orbit the Jupiter 37 times, getting closer and closer to the planet's surface with every pass. As well as some potentially astounding science findings, Juno's 37 orbits will also see the spacecraft return some incredible images of the planet's surface. Finally, on 20th February 2018, Juno's mission will come to an end with a spectacular kamikaze dive into Jupiter's atmosphere.

Further coverage of Juno's Jupiter orbit insertion can be found on NASA's UStream.
Science
NASA
Space
Solar System

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