NASA星期五发射太阳能木星探测器 NASA's Juno spacecraft is ready to blast off Friday to Jupiter

05 August, 2011


NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft is ready to blast off Friday on a landmark mission to Jupiter aimed gaining new insight into the origin and evolution of the solar system’s largest planet.
The unmanned U.S. space agency probe will launch aboard an Atlas V551 rocket ((Friday 1534 Universal Time/11:34 am Eastern time)) from Cape Canaveral in ((the southeastern U.S. state of)) Florida. Juno is scheduled to reach Jupiter in 2016.
But just minutes after it separates from the launch vehicle, NASA says Juno will begin opening its large solar arrays and begin powering up the nearly 19,000 solar cells that will be the spacecraft’s energy source for its more than six-year mission - a journey of nearly 3.5 billion kilometers. Previous NASA missions to the outer solar system relied on nuclear energy.
NASA says the probe will orbit around Jupiter’s poles and get closer to the planet than any spacecraft before it. At its nearest approach, Juno will fly a 5,000 kilometers above the gas giant, nearly skimming its dense, swirling cloud tops. Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun, orbiting between Mars and the ringed planet, Saturn. 
In addition to learning more about Jupiter’s atmosphere, core, strong gravity and powerful magnetic field, scientists hope the Juno mission will unlock the mystery of the so-called Great Red Spot - an enormous cyclonic storm three times the size of the Earth that has raged on Jupiter for more than 300 years.