UPDATE (07/10/2016): Juno has sent this color image showing Jupiter and three of its moons: Io, Europa and Ganymede. The transmission indicates the spacecraft and its equipment endured its first pass through Jupiter’s extreme radiation environment, and is ready to collect images and data of the giant planet.
After five years and 1.8 billion miles, NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit on Monday evening where it will begin its exploration of the king of the planets.
Ground controllers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Lockheed Martin erupted in applause when the solar-powered Juno spacecraft beamed home news that it was circling Jupiter’s poles.
The arrival at Jupiter was dramatic. As Juno approached its target, it fired its rocket engine to slow itself down and gently slipped into orbit. Because of the communication time lag between Jupiter and Earth, Juno was on autopilot when it executed the daring move.
“Juno, welcome to Jupiter,” said mission control commentator Jennifer Delavan of Lockheed Martin, which built Juno.
In anticipation of Juno’s arrival, the scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory hosted a live internet broadcast Monday evening.
The spacecraft’s camera and other instruments were switched off for arrival, so there won’t be any pictures at the moment it reaches its destination. Hours before the encounter, NASA released a series of images taken last week during the approach, showing Jupiter glowing yellow in the distance, circled by its four inner moons.
Scientists have promised close-up views of the planet when Juno skims the cloud tops during the 20-month, $1.1 billion mission.
While we wait for more updates and images, here are a couple videos produced by CCTV America and NASA explaining the origin of the mission, and what Juno can expect when she arrives. We’ll be updating this page with more videos, photos, and other materials as news of the mission comes in.
The origin of Juno: What’s in a name?
As we wait for news of spacecraft Juno’s arrival at the planet Jupiter, here is a short primer on her origins, her mission and her namesake. Narrated by NASA’s Scott Bolton.
The origins of Juno: What\'s in a name?As we wait for news of spacecraft Juno's arrival at the planet Jupiter, here is a short primer on her origins, her mission and her namesake. Narrated by NASA’s Scott Bolton.
Juno meets Jupiter: What can she expect?
NASA’s Rick Nybakken and Tracy Drain explain Juno’s complex enter into orbit around Jupiter, the extreme radiation coming from the planet and how they plan to manage it?
When Juno meets Jupiter: What can she expect?NASA's Rick Nybakken and Tracy Drain explain Juno's complex enter into orbit around Jupiter, the extreme radiation coming from the planet and how they plan to manage it.
NASA’s hopes for Juno: What comes next?
Juno has completed its 1.8 billion trek across the solar system and entered into Jupiter’s orbit. NASA’s Steve Levin and Scott Bolton speak about their hopes for the mission and what comes next.