NASA's Juno Spacecraft Enters Orbit of Planet Jupiter

WASHINGTON DC - Juno is a NASA New Frontiers mission currently orbiting the planet Jupiter. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011 and arrived on July 4, 2016. The spacecraft is in a polar orbitto study Jupiter's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. Juno will also search for clues about how the planet formed, including whether it has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, mass distribution, and its deep winds, which can reach speeds of 618 kilometers per hour (384 mph).

Juno will be the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, following the Galileo probe which orbited from 1995–2003.

The Juno spacecraft is powered by solar arrays, commonly used by satellites orbiting Earth and working in the inner Solar System, whereas radioisotope thermoelectric generators are commonly used for missions to the outer Solar System and beyond. For Juno, however, three solar array wings, the largest ever deployed on a planetary probe, will play an integral role in stabilising the spacecraft and generating power.

The spacecraft's name comes from Greco-Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, but his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and see Jupiter's true nature. The mission had previously been referred to by the backronym Jupiter Near-polar Orbiter in a list of NASA acronyms.

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