Juno Taking Shape in Denver

April 6, 2010
Workers move into place the vault that will protect Juno's sensitive electronics from Jupiter's intense radiation belts. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Lockheed Martin

(PhysOrg.com) -- Assembly has begun on NASA's Juno spacecraft, which will help scientists understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. The mission, whose principal investigator is Scott Bolton of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Tex., is expected to launch in August 2011 and reach Jupiter in 2016.

The assembly, testing and launch operations phase began April 1 in a high-bay clean room at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver. Engineers and technicians will spend the next few months fitting instruments and navigation equipment onto the spacecraft.

"We're excited the puzzle pieces are coming together," Bolton said. "We're one important step closer to getting to Jupiter."

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. Underneath its dense cloud cover, the planet safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.

Juno will have nine science instruments on board to investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras.

"We plan to be doing a lot of testing in the next few months," said Jan Chodas, the project manager based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We want to make sure the spacecraft is ready for the long journey to Jupiter and the harsh environment it will encounter there."

JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton. Space Systems is building the . The Italian Space Agency, Rome, is contributing an infrared spectrometer instrument and a portion of the radio .

Explore further: SwRI to provide two science instruments for NASA's Juno mission

More information: For more information about Juno, visit www.nasa.gov/juno

Related Stories

Spacecraft to Pluto Prepares for Jupiter Encounter

January 18, 2007

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is on the doorstep of the solar system's largest planet. The spacecraft will study and swing past Jupiter, increasing speed on its voyage toward Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and beyond.

Rosetta, New Horizons team up

March 2, 2007

ESA and NASA are mounting a joint campaign to observe Jupiter over the next few weeks with two different spacecraft. Rosetta will watch the big picture from its current position near Mars, whilst New Horizons will take close-up ...

NASA awards Juno Jupiter mission contract

October 4, 2007

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has picked Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services of Littleton, Colo., for the Juno mission to Jupiter.

Recommended for you

NASA team probes peculiar age-defying star

August 29, 2016

For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young.

Milky way had a blowout bash six million years ago

August 29, 2016

The center of the Milky Way galaxy is currently a quiet place where a supermassive black hole slumbers, only occasionally slurping small sips of hydrogen gas. But it wasn't always this way. A new study shows that 6 million ...

NASA's Juno successfully completes Jupiter flyby

August 29, 2016

NASA's Juno mission successfully executed its first of 36 orbital flybys of Jupiter today. The time of closest approach with the gas-giant world was 6:44 a.m. PDT (9:44 a.m. EDT, 13:44 UTC) when Juno passed about 2,600 miles ...

Hubble spots an irregular island in a sea of space

August 29, 2016

This image, courtesy of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), captures the glow of distant stars within NGC 5264, a dwarf galaxy located just over 15 million light-years away in the constellation ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gunslingor1
not rated yet Apr 06, 2010
Geez, article is pretty skimp on information about the instrument.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.