NASA’s Juno spacecraft barreled toward a Fourth of July rendezvous with Jupiter after a 1.7-billion-mile, five-year trip from planet Earth. The research probe’s main engine ignited for 35 minutes to maneuver Juno into orbit, and engineers received confirmation of the burn’s conclusion on time at 11:53 p.m. EDT Monday (0353 GMT Tuesday).
Whether you’re a casual stargazer or armed with a toolkit of observing gadgets, chances are you have caught a glimpse of Jupiter this year beckoning as one of the brightest objects in the night sky. It’s about to get its first visitor in nearly a decade, when NASA’s Juno spacecraft rockets into orbit Monday.
NASA managers formally approved the New Horizons mission another speedy encounter with an object at the frontier of the solar system, but denied a request from scientists to redirect the Dawn spacecraft to visit a third destination in the asteroid belt, opting to keep it in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, officials said Friday.
The visible camera on NASA’s Juno spacecraft is capturing a time-lapse movie of Jupiter and its four largest moons as the orbiter dives toward the giant planet for a July 4 rendezvous, and officials have released a first taste of the views armchair scientists and space enthusiasts can anticipate over the coming weeks and months.