CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Juno spacecraft is set to launch toward Jupiter aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Aug. 5. The launch window extends from 11:34 a.m. to 12:33 p.m. EDT (8:34 to 9:33 a.m. PDT), and the launch period extends through Aug. 26.

The spacecraft is expected to arrive at Jupiter in 2016, on a mission to investigate the gas giant’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. Juno’s color camera will provide close-up images of Jupiter, including the first detailed views of the planets’ poles.

NASA will host a prelaunch news conference in the News Center at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 1 p.m. EDT

More info here.

Comments

  1. #1 StevoR
    July 27, 2011

    Cheers! Thanks for this news. :-)

    Look forward to hearing more about this and seeing the launch.

    I’d really love to see a mission launched to land on – and go under the icy crust of Europa where there just might be life but this will do nicely for now.

  2. #2 Calli Arcale
    July 28, 2011

    Juno is one of the most exciting missions in recent years. At least to me, but then, I have a thing for gas giants. I saw a video recently that said that the huge, high-efficiency solar panels on Juno will, at 1 AU, generate enough electricity to power a decent-sized house. Once they get out to Jupiter’s orbit, though, they’ll have enough power to light up half a dozen 60W incandescent light bulbs. That’s impressive at 5AU, but it drives home just how difficult this is. It would have been much simpler with an RTG, but those are politically awkward to obtain these days. (New Horizons was the last to get one to date, since obviously solar power does diddly squat at Pluto, where the Sun is reduced to a particularly bright star.)

  3. #3 StevoR
    July 29, 2011

    Check out the science error in this :

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/nasa-spacecraft-to-circle-jupiter/story-e6frf7lf-1226104344964

    otherwise reasonable news article.

    Hint : it’s HU-UUUGE! ;-)

    (Unless they correct and update it. Hmm .. I’ll quote it in case they do but with a line of asterisks heopfully long enough to let those who wish to find it for themselves do so.)

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    With its fiery red eye and a mass greater than all the objects in the universe combined, Jupiter is intriguing to astronomers .. [emphasis added.]

    Jupiter may be big but it ain’t quite *that* big!

    I think they meant “a mass greater than all the other planets in our solar system combined” which would be true.

    Jupiter = 318 earth masses vs

    Saturn – 95 earth mass (em)
    Neptune – 17 em
    Ouranos – 14 em
    Earth – 1 em
    Venus – nearly 1 em
    Mars – much less than 1 em (1/4 or so?)
    Mercury – much less than 1 em (1/5th or so?)

    Pluto, Eris, Ceres, Makemake, Haumea – er, not too much at all em~wise.

    The seven other biggest planets combined (being very generous and rounding Venus, Mars and Mercury up to 1 em) = 130 em – or still a very long way behind.