Juno Prepares to Enter Jupiter, Can it Survive the 'Biggest, Baddest' Planet in the Solar System?
Jupiter is ready to reveal its best-kept secrets. In the Juno Mission trailer released by NASA, Jupiter was regarded as the "biggest and baddest" planet in the Solar System.
Juno is about to face the harshest conditions within Jupiter's atmosphere known for its radiation and other mysterious factors that the spacecraft will have to withstand in order to fulfill its mission of observing and understanding the planet's composition.
The Juno spacecraft launched in 2011 will arrive at Jupiter's atmosphere on July 4. But after successfully completing its long-haul flight to the planet, Juno's predicament doesn't stop there. Jupiter's environment is known to be vicious and experts are worried if Juno can withstand it.
"It's a monster, it's unforgiving, it's relentless," a NASA official said in the Juno Mission trailer video released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It's spinning around so fast, its gravity is like a giant slingshot slinging rocks, dust... anything that gets close to it becomes its weapon," the NASA official added.
Juno's attempt, if successful will be the closest a spacecraft had gone near Jupiter. But according to experts, it will all be worth it, since Jupiter's secrets are worth the shot. It is believed that the planet is home to water content, helium, methane, hydrogen and ammonia.
But the experts fear that the "biggest and baddest" planet in the Solar System also possesses the biggest and baddest radiation there is. The magnetic field of Jupiter is also expected to be massive.
Juno's role in studying Jupiter plays a big role in the understanding of the Universe. According to NASA, to understand how the Solar System was formed, mankind needs to understand first how Jupiter was formed.
"Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation" a NASA official said in a press release.
If Juno survives the cruel environment of Jupiter, the $1.3 billion spacecraft will orbit the planet for 20 months, according to Popular Science. Juno will have to complete 37 orbits around the planet to beam back pivotal findings to Earth. The mission will finish by February 2018, providing that the spacecraft survives the harsh environment in Jupiter upon its entry into the planet's atmosphere in July.