While most people were celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks and hot dogs, NASA was celebrating one of its most impressive missions ever: the arrival of the Juno space probe in Jupiter’s orbit.
Juno was launched nearly five years ago on a mission to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution. It’s the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo which was deliberately crashed into Jupiter on September 21, 2003. The five-year-old spacecraft traveled nearly 2 billion miles through space to get to the biggest planet in our solar system.
So, what’s next for Juno? It will now take a series of dives beneath Jupiter’s radiation belts to study the gas giant from as close as 2,600 miles above the planet’s cloud tops. The main mission is to collect data about how the solar system formed.