Juno is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It is a NASA spacecraft orbiting the planet Jupiter. It is still probing the solar system’s largest planet and its moons. It has offered dramatic glimpses of Jupiter and its moon. Jupiter is a massive gas giant. Juno was first proposed in 2003. It was launched on August 5, 2011. It arrived at Jupiter in 2016. It is circling the planet since then. According to NASA, Juno’s primary mission was to observe the atmosphere, gravity, and magnetic fields using scientific instruments. It was launched on a five-year interplanetary mission. The mission was slated to be completed in July 2021. However, NASA extended the mission recently. Juno will now continue to probe Jupiter until its end. It will study the full Jovian system.
NASA believes that understanding Jupiter’s properties can reveal its origins and subsequent evolution. Juno has returned spectacular images of Jupiter. Jupiter is so large that it can swallow all objects in the solar system other than the Sun. The planet has 79 moons. Scientists call the Jovian system a mini solar system. According to NASA, Juno was initially planned to orbit the planet 37 times in 20 months. But the spacecraft will now orbit Jupiter 42 times more during the extended mission. NASA expects that the extended mission of Juno will answer fundamental questions from its prime mission. It will go beyond Jupiter’s ring system to explore it.
Jupiter is a planet that that is full of puzzles. Scientists are working to decode its mysteries. It is one of the five planets that are visible to the naked eye from Earth. NASA remains the only agency that has reached the planet. The European Space Agency is planning to send a mission to the gas giant. The ESA has named it JUICE which will explore Jupiter’s icy moons. The agency is preparing to launch the mission in 2020. The probe will reach its destination in 2030. It will perform multiple flybys in the inner solar system to reach Jupiter moons. It will study Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. All three are Galilean moons of Jupiter.