NASA's Juno Blasts Off Today On A Five-Year Journey To Jupiter

NASA juno spacecraft

Photo: NASA

NASA is launching the Juno spacecraft this afternoon on a six-year mission to study Jupiter.The launch takes place around 11:30 a.m. Eastern. You can watch it live right here.

Juno will take five years to reach Jupiter, and spend another year orbiting the planet, studying its atmosphere and magnetic field. NASA believes Jupiter was the first planet to form after the sun, and hopes the mission will give us hints at how our early solar system developed.

After the year-long study, Juno will de-orbit into Jupiter’s atmosphere.

Juno's mission is to scan deep into Jupiter's atmosphere for hints as to how the planet formed

Juno is 66 feet in diameter and 15 feet tall

Here's an early photo of NASA engineers preparing Juno

Juno is completely solar-powered. Here's a look at its massive solar panels

Juno will scan deep into Jupiter's atmosphere, with hopes of finding a solid core

Juno's radiometer will probe the planet for signs of water and oxygen

These LEGO figurines of the Roman God Jupiter, his wife Juno, and the Italian astronomer Galileo will be part of Juno's payload

This plaque is welded to Juno. It's a self portrait of Galileo along with a copy of his hand-written notes of his first observations of Jupiter, dating back to 1610

Ultraviolet and infared cameras will study Jupiter's massive magnetic auroras

This photo from a few months ago shows Juno being prepped for shipment to Cape Canaveral, Florida for launch

Here's Juno's arrival at Cape Canaveral

Juno will launch from an Atlas V-551 rocket, which NASA says is its most powerful rocket to date

This rendering shows Juno detaching from the Atlas rocket. It will uses Earth's gravity to assist its propulsion to Jupiter

This rendering shows Juno's solar panels unfurling for the first time

Juno will orbit Jupiter 32 times while conducting its experiments

Now find out how NASA missions have helped us here on Earth

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