Juno has landed

ncs 8/07/2016
Juno has landed

Six years ago, NASA launched a mission which sent a spacecraft (named Juno) to Jupiter. And on Monday it arrived! And to think it only took six years…

This clever doohickey, which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 5 August 2011, will be placed in a polar orbit, allowing scientists and astronomers to get closer to understanding how the solar system originated. But in order to do that, they first have to examine Jupiter. There are many theories behind how the solar system came to be, but one of the popular theories suggests that many years ago (5 billion to be exact), a star supposedly exploded in the galaxy, causing a nearby cloud of gas and dust to collapse and flatten into a spinning disk. Most of it became the sun and the remaining debris formed the other planets – the majority of it forming Jupiter. And which one of the planets do they believe was formed first? Jupiter, of course.

If everything goes according to plan, Juno will allow us (we mean the experts) to study the planet for 18 months and hopefully find out what lies beneath the polar orbit. Will the mysteries behind the solar system be solved once and for all? Like, what’s Jupiter made of? How was the planet Earth formed? Will England ever win a major tournament? But in all seriousness, this is big news for modern science! If it’s a success, Juno will get us one step closer to finding out not just how Earth was formed, but the whole basic foundation of life itself! You know, no biggie...

If you’re an aspiring astronomer, get your telescopes out and take some photos. You can share the images on the JunoCam website – just make sure to read their submission guidelines first.

Oh, and don’t forget to share with us @NCS!