After five years in space, NASA's Juno spacecraft has travelled over 1.7 billion miles and is now near enough to enter the orbit of Jupiter. This is the farthest that a spacecraft has gone in recent years.
According to CNBC, Juno will sweep into the atmosphere of Jupiter by July 4. NASA will do this by switching the engine's mode, which will slow it down by burning fuel. This decrease in momentum will allow Juno to enter the clouds of Jupiter.
The team behind Juno is very excited at the prospect, as it will signify fruition of NASA's $1.1 billion investment on the project. Curt Niebur, the lead program scientist for New Frontiers, which overseas the missions of Juno, spoke about the importance and uniqueness of the spacecraft. According to him, Juno was built specifically to look into Jupiter. Likewise, Jupiter is very important because it is composed mainly of gaseous elements, which makes it unlike the Earth or Mars.
Because of the gaseous elements that cover Jupiter, it has always just been debated on about what lies underneath the largest planet in the Solar System. Juno's findings will definitely put everything to rest. Other than the clouds, Jupiter stands out because of its size, speed and its number of moons. All the planets in the Solar System combined are still smaller than half of Jupiter. Its day is also equal to just 10 hours on Earth. It has four large moons, as well as several smaller ones.
Juno, however, is in for a ride. According to The Verge, Jupiter's magnetosphere is always full of charged particles from the Sun, called Solar Winds, as well as particles from the planet's volcanic moon. Because of this mix of particles, electronics, including Juno, could be fried as it travels across the planet's the magnetosphere.
At this point, Juno is still at the edge of Jupiter's magnetosphere, which is about 20,000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field.