NASA set to launch probe to Jupiter
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is poised to launch a satellite probe this week into the heart of the planet Jupiter.
In what has been called as an unprecedented mission to the largest planet in our solar system, NASA aims to gather more information about Jupiter–believed to be the first one formed within the solar system–as a means to further understand the beginnings of our own planet.
“Jupiter holds a lot of keys about how we formed,” Scott Bolton, lead scientist with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, told reporters. “That’s why it’s very interesting to us if we want to go back in time and understand where we came from and how the planets were made.
The space probe Juno, which had already been hoisted on board the unmanned space rocket Atlas 5, will spend an entire year cycling Jupiter’s deadly radiation belts after making the five year journey to the planet from the time it is launched on August 5. The orbit path will take the space probe as close as 3,100 miles above the planet’s cloud tops–the closest any orbiting spacecraft will ever venture.
Among the information that NASA hopes the space probe would retrieve during the mission will include the amount of water the planet holds, the cause of the vast magnetic fields that envelope the planet, and whether it houses a solid core beneath its dense, hot atmosphere.
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