Scientists associated with the mission to take a spacecraft, Juno, to Jupiter said it is the “hardest thing NASA” has ever done. Its goals, in part, are to gain insight into the very beginning of our solar system.
CCTV America’s Sean Callebs takes us along for a mission that traveled close to 2 billion miles.
NASA\'s farthest solar-powered probe reaches JupiterScientists associated with the mission to take a spacecraft, Juno, to Jupiter said it is the "hardest thing NASA" has ever done. Its goals, in part, are to gain insight into the very beginning of our solar system. CCTV America's Sean Callebs takes us along for a mission that traveled close to 2 billion miles.
Five years ago, an atlas rocket cleared the tower carrying one of the most ambitious space projects ever. The Juno spacecraft, and its mission to Jupiter, by far the largest and what scientists say the most mysterious planet in our solar system.
“The truth is it has the strongest magnetic field, it’s spinning the fastest, it has the most intense radiation and we’re flying the fastest of any spacecraft and we are carrying these giant solar rays spinning,” Scott Bolton, NASA Juno mission, said.
Juno’s voyage, and subsequent scientific work, costs an estimated $1.1 billion.
Solar panels on the spacecraft are using the sun’s energy to power Juno’s journey at a whopping 150,000 miles per hour. The spacecraft also had to slow down at the just right time to enter Jupiter’s orbit and begin its 20-month investigation of the planet.
“It’s amazing. I mean the more you know about the mission, you know just how tricky this was. And have to it be flawless — I mean, I really can’t put this in words,” Diane Brown, Juno program executive, said.
The success of the mission is just what the U.S. space program needs after the manned space program has been shut down for five years.
Since then, much of the attention has been on deep space exploration, like the Mars rover mission.
Jupiter is 1,000 times as big as earth and gives off punishing radiation. The radiation dramatically damaged the first U.S. probe to reach Jupiter, Galileo, in 1995.
“Juno is going to be a two-year mission to study the largest planet in our solar system. It’s going to be the first mission ever to probe deep into the interior of Jupiter,” Michelle Thaller, deputy director of science communication at NASA, said.
During its mission, scientists hope to gain insight into the heart of the giant planet. Some of the questions they hope to answer are simple: Is Jupiter solid or gaseous? But they hope to help answer much more thoughtful questions: How did our universe form?
Yang Yuguang on the NASA Juno mission
For more on the Juno mission, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke to Yang Yuguang, professor at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation and member of the Chinese Society of Astronautics, about the challenges of the mission, what scientists hope to learn and how Juno differs from the 1995 Galileo mission.
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