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Juno Blasts off on Science Trek to Discover Jupiter’s Genesis

JUNO blasts off for Jupiter on Aug. 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12:25 p.m. EDT. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com)
Send Ken your Juno launch photos to post at Universe Today

NASA’s solar powered Juno spacecraft blasted off today (Aug.5)from Cape Canaveral today to begin a 2.8 billion kilometer science trek to discover the genesis of Jupiter hidden deep inside the planet’s interior.

Upon arrival at Jupiter in July 2016, JUNO will fire its braking rockets and go into polar orbit and circle the planet 33 times over about one year. The goal is to find out more about the planets origins, interior structure and atmosphere, observe the aurora, map the intense magnetic field and investigate the existence of a solid planetary core.

The spacecraft is healthy and the solar panels successfully deployed.

Check out the photo album of Juno’s launch from the Universe Today team of Alan Walters and Ken Kremer.

“Jupiter is the Rosetta Stone of our solar system,” said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “It is by far the oldest planet, contains more material than all the other planets, asteroids and comets combined and carries deep inside it the story of not only the solar system but of us. Juno is going there as our emissary — to interpret what Jupiter has to say.”

Juno was launched atop a powerful Atlas V rocket augmented by 5 solid rocket boosters – built by United Launch Alliance

JUNO blasts off for Jupiter on Aug. 5. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com)

“Today, with the launch of the Juno spacecraft, NASA began a journey to yet another new frontier,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “The future of exploration includes cutting-edge science like this to help us better understand our solar system and an ever-increasing array of challenging destinations.”

Juno Launch - View from the VAB Roof
Atlas V liftoff with JUNO to Jupiter on Aug. 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Credit: Ken Kremer

Juno Launch - View from the VAB Roof
Atlas V liftoff with JUNO to Jupiter on Aug. 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Credit: Ken Kremer (kenkremer.com)

Juno Launch - View from the VAB Roof
JUNO blasts off for Jupiter on Aug. 5 atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12:25 p.m. EDT.

Credit: Ken Kremer (kenkremer.com)

Send Ken your Juno launch photos to post at Universe Today

Read my continuing features about Juno
Juno Jupiter Orbiter poised at Launch Pad for Aug. 5 Blastoff
JUNO Orbiter Mated to Mightiest Atlas rocket for Aug. 5 Blastoff to Jupiter
Solar Powered Jupiter bound JUNO lands at Kennedy Space Center

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lights in the Dark August 6, 2011, 3:13 AM

    It was a beautiful launch! I got video… http://lightsinthedark.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/juno-launches/

  • Anonymous August 6, 2011, 2:21 PM

    I am really surprised NASA is sending another Probe to Jupiter but not focusing on Europa. I would think another MARS mission would be more useful than another Jupiter study. Am I missing something here?

    • Ray Fowler August 6, 2011, 7:03 PM

      Yes, you are. Ignoring that we currently have active missions to Mars, as the largest planet Jupiter will likely have unique internal dynamics. Understanding how it generates its massive magnetic field could have lasting implications.

    • Ray Fowler August 6, 2011, 7:03 PM

      Yes, you are. Ignoring that we currently have active missions to Mars, as the largest planet Jupiter will likely have unique internal dynamics. Understanding how it generates its massive magnetic field could have lasting implications.

  • Anonymous August 6, 2011, 2:24 PM

    Is there a reason for another Jupiter mission without going to Europa that I don’t understand? This seems like a waste of a science mission. To find out the secrest of the creation of Jupiter? With a polar probe?

    • The Math Skeptic August 6, 2011, 2:59 PM

      Obviously you’ve never seen the 2001 sequel, 2010. All worlds are ours, except Europa. We are to attempt no landing there. The monolith was very clear on this, and you don’t mess with monoliths. Look what it did to poor Keir Dullea.

      P.S. Spoiler alert…

      • Anonymous August 6, 2011, 4:33 PM

        Maybe it wasn’t science fiction after all?

    • Torbjörn Larsson August 7, 2011, 7:30 PM

      Understanding giant structure and hopefully formation has become important for understanding planetary system formation. (And so habitability, precisely as Europa.)

      For the large missions there seems to be a “max every other return” principle, and Jupiter was important enough to warrant that: next large one (NASA & ESA coop) is to Jupiter. However, a dedicated Europa seems to have been too early/too expensive.

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