NASA did it again folks. After five years of waiting, NASA’s spacecraft Juno, affectionately named in reference to the goddess Juno of Roman mythology has finally arrived at her destination and has been reunited with her husband, Jupiter.
NASA didn’t name their spacecraft Juno by accident though. According to theverge.com, five years ago NASA released this statement:
“The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, and his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter’s true nature.”
Juno will be the first spacecraft to go through the clouds surrounding Jupiter much like how the Juno in Roman mythology was able to unveil her husband’s affairs. Humor aside, NASA sees the successful entry of Juno into Jupiter’s orbit as a historical and critical moment in space history.
“Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America’s birthday another reason to cheer-Juno is at Jupiter,” NASA administrator Charlie Bolden said in NASA’s press release. “And what is more American than a NASA mission going boldly where no spacecraft has gone before?”
“With Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter’s massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet’s interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved,” Bolden said.
Juno will not only give NASA an opportunity to see and study a side of Jupiter that has never been seen before but it also marks a first for them in terms of conducting a space mission to Jupiter with a solar-powered spacecraft; the farthest they’ve ever sent a solar-powered craft before.
According to NASA, Juno will not only give them insight into how Jupiter has formed and evolved through the years but help them understand how planetary systems-ours and others- form and develop.
“In all of history, we’ve never really been able to see the motion of any heavenly body against another,” Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator said to CNN during an interview, describing how Jupiter has its very own “mini solar system” with multiple moons circling it at various speeds.
“This is the king of our solar system and its disciples going around it. It’s very significant, we’re finally able to see with real video, real pictures, this motion that we’ve only been able to imagine it until today,” he said.
It wasn’t just NASA experiencing Juno’s historical orbit insertion into Jupiter’s atmosphere but everyday people through NASA’s free Eyes on the Solar System app for Mac and PC.
This app is a developed module focusing on Juno’s mission, giving viewers an interactive online visualization of the entire mission. Through this app, viewers were able to see Juno arrive at Jupiter in real time through a live feed. The app also gives you the opportunity to travel back in time to when they first launched Juno in 2011 or time jump into the future when Juno is expected to finish its mission in February of 2018.
If you missed Juno’s arrival or want to see it again, you can download the app at eyes.jpl.nasa.gov
Image retrieved from Flickr.