Currently, Jupiter is at the Juno interplanetary station right on the course. Its arrival to the largest planet of the solar system is expected on July 4 of this year.
The station, powered by solar panels, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, used 600 grams of fuel to change its speed by about 1, 1 km / hour. According to NASA officials, the station made a maneuver, being at a distance of 82 million kilometers from Jupiter.
According to Scott Bolton, the principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, this was the first of two maneuvers that equalized the station’s path, making it ideally reach Jupiter on July 4, 2016 at 20 : 18 Pacific time (03:18 GMT July 5th).
The second alignment of the trajectory should take place on May 31st.
Mission Juno started in August 2011. Its cost is 1, 1 billion US dollars. The main objectives of the project include the compilation of precise gravitational and magnetic maps of Jupiter, which will help scientists obtain more data on the structure of the gas giant, its formation and evolution. These tasks will be performed by Juno while he orbits the planet. According to the original plan, the four-ton station should complete 33 orbits around the planet, approaching the top layer of clouds at a distance of only 5000 kilometers every 14 days.
Juno has three 9-meter long solar panels that hold 18,698 photocells. Such an excess amount is necessary so that the apparatus can move in a relatively dim environment around Jupiter, whose orbit is more than five times as far from the Earth as it is from the Sun.
Last month, Juno received the title of the station, which was able to fly farthest from Earth using solar panels. The previous record belonged to the Rosetta spacecraft, launched by the European Space Agency to study comet 67P / Churyumov - Gerasimenko. Rosetta in October 2012 retired from Earth to a distance of 792 million kilometers.