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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft to Gather Data on Jupiter’s Origin, Structure

NASA‘s Juno spacecraft will work to arrive at Jupiter on July 4 for a series of planned flybys to probe beneath the planet’s clouded atmosphere and examine its auroras.

The solar-powered aircraft will conduct 37 close approaches to study the planet’s auroras in efforts to learn more about Jupiter’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere, NASA said Friday.

Juno’s flattened oval orbit was designed to support the orbit as it follows a trajectory in the spacecraft’s approach to Jupiter’s north pole and drop below the planet’s radiation belts towards it south pole.

“Over the life of the mission, Juno will be exposed to the equivalent of over 100 million dental X-rays,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno’s project manager, said.

According to Nybakken, Juno’s orbit will help minimize radiation exposure so Juno can survive through the mission and gather data needed to study the planet.

Juno is outfitted with special radiation-hardened electrical wiring and sensor shields and a titanium vault to protect its flight computer from the extreme radiation produced by Jupiter’s quick rotation and layer of hydrogen underneath its Jovian cloud layer.

NASA launched Juno in August 2011 as part of the agency’s New Frontiers Program.

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