NASA Spacecraft Orbiting Jupiter
After nearly 5 years of travel to reach the planet, NASA officials confirmed in a press release on Tuesday that its Juno spacecraft is now orbiting Jupiter. The epic event occurred on Monday.
“Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America’s birthday another reason to cheer -- Juno is at Jupiter,” said NASA administrator Charlie Bolden. “And what is more American than a NASA mission going boldly where no spacecraft has gone before?
Scientists could breathe a sigh of relief that the spacecraft arrived at its destination. “The spacecraft worked perfectly, which is always nice when you’re driving a vehicle with 1.7 billion miles on the odometer,” said Rick Nybakken, a Juno project manager.
Two locations picked up the signals that the spacecraft was orbiting Juipter: “NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as well as at the Lockheed Martin Juno operations center in Littleton, Colorado,” according to NASA officials. “The telemetry and tracking data were received by NASA's Deep Space Network antennas in Goldstone, California, and Canberra, Australia.”
NASA officials said the spacecraft is on a mission to collect scientific data. “Juno's principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter,” they said. “With its suite of nine science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras.”