NASA’s Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft is now in Jupiter’s backyard, where the movement of particles in space is controlled by what is going on inside Jupiter.
Juno is expected to enter Jupiter’s orbit sphere of influence just before midnight Eastern time on July 4.
“We’ve just crossed the boundary into Jupiter’s home turf. We’re closing in fast on the planet itself and already gaining valuable data,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator, from Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, in a statement on Thursday.
The Juno spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on August 5, 2011.
Jupiter is a strange world, but Juno will make it a little more familiar. In doing so, it could give scientists valuable insight in own origin story and clues in the ongoing hunt for alien life.
Scientists should be able to confirm its success soon after.