Juno, NASA’s Jupiter mission by the numbers

Updated - September 18, 2016 11:41 am IST

Published - July 05, 2016 11:57 am IST - LOS ANGELES

A 1/5th size scale model of NASA's Juno spacecraft is displayed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on Monday.

A 1/5th size scale model of NASA's Juno spacecraft is displayed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on Monday.

Since launching in 2011, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been cruising toward the biggest planet in the solar system. On Monday, Juno performed a nail-biting move that placed it into orbit around Jupiter to explore its cloud-covered atmosphere and interior makeup.

2.8 billion km

That’s the total distance travelled from launch to arrival. Juno’s journey wasn’t a straight shot. Because the rocket that carried Juno wasn’t powerful enough to boost it directly to Jupiter, it took a longer route. It looped around the inner solar system and then swung by Earth, using our planet as a gravity slingshot to hurtle toward the outer solar system.

5,000 km

That’s how close Juno will fly to Jupiter’s cloud tops. It’ll pass over the poles 37 times during the mission on a path that avoids the most intense radiation.

48 minutes, 19 seconds

That’s the time it took for radio signals from Jupiter to reach Earth. During the encounter, Juno fired its main engine for about a half hour to slow down. By the time ground controllers receive word, the engine burn was completed, placing Juno in orbit.

20 months

That’s how long the mission will last. Because Juno is in a harsh radiation environment, its delicate electronics are housed in a special titanium vault. Eventually, Juno will succumb to the intense radiation and will be commanded to plunge into Jupiter’s atmosphere to avoid any collision with the planet’s moons.

Nine

Juno carries a suite of nine instruments to explore Jupiter from its interior to its atmosphere. It will map Jupiter’s gravity and magnetic fields and track how much water is in the atmosphere. Its colour camera dubbed JunoCam will snap close-ups of Jupiter’s swirling clouds, polar regions and shimmering southern and northern lights.

Three

Three massive solar wings extend from Juno, making it the most distant solar-powered spacecraft. The panels can generate 500 watts of electricity, enough to power the instruments.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.