After traveling 1.74 billion miles, the Juno spacecraft is making its grand arrival to Jupiter July 4th. Nearly 5 years ago, Juno started its journey leaving Cape Canaveral and the Earth’s surface for good to make this a long awaited arrival. Juno’s mission is to study the atmosphere and magnetosphere of Jupiter and learn more about how the planet formed; Jupiter was the first planet to form and thus can help teach us about the early solar system. It isn’t just NASA that is hyped for this momentous occasion; to celebrate Juno’s arrival, Apple has teamed up with NASA and several notable artists to release songs inspired by the Juno Program titled Destination Jupiter and a short video titled Visions of Harmony. Interplanetary missions are not that common which makes them all the more exciting when they meet their milestones. NASA will be sharing their excitement with us with programming on NASA TV as follows:
Pre Insertion Events
6:00 am -11:00 am EST 7/4 (10:00-15:00 GMT 4/7): Live media interviews on Jupiter orbit insertion
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EST 7/4 (16:00-17:00 GMT 4/7): Final NASA media briefing on orbit insertion
10:30 pm EST 7/4 (2:30 GMT 5/7): Juno live coverage begins
11:18 pm EST 7/4 (3:18 GMT 5/7): Orbit insertion burn begins*
11:38 pm EST 7/4 (3:38 GMT 5/7): Capture orbit achieved*
11:53 pm EST 7/4 (3:53 GMT 5/7): Orbit insertion burn ends* (NASA JPL breathes sigh of relief as their 1.13 billion dollar project doesn’t go down the tubes)
12:30 am EST 7/5 (4:30 GMT 5/7): Juno live coverage ends
Post Insertion Event
1:00 am – 2:30 am EST 7/5 (5:00-6:30 GMT 5/7): Post Juno insertion briefing
In the meantime, feel free to poke around in Juno’s own website or check out Eyes On The Solar System App which has a module dedicated to the Juno mission to Jupiter. Lastly, Emily Lakdawalla made an easy to follow list of all the maneuvers happening if you are interested in more of the specifics of the insertion! And if you are feeling really bold you can check out Juno’s Orbit Insertion Press Kit which is 88 pages of infographic bliss.
I had to use everything inside me to not make a single bad Juno pun throughout this article. So you are welcome for that. Also, fun fact: Juno in roman mythology is Jupiter’s wife and Jupiter’s moons are named after his mistresses** so wonder how that reunion is going to go……
* All times are Earth received. Because Jupiter is so far, there is a 48 minute delay between when the event occurs and when we receive the information.
**The moons technically use the Greek names though not the Roman but same idea.