This illustration depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft in orbit above Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Launch Date August 5, 2011
Launch Site Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA | Pad SLC-41
Destination Jupiter
Type Orbiter
Status In Progress
Nation United States
Alternate Names 2011-040A, Juno Orbiter, 37773

Goals

Reveal the story of the formation and evolution of Jupiter. How did Jupiter form? Does it have a solid core? How is its vast magnetic field generated?

Accomplishments

Early science results from NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter portray the largest planet in our solar system as a complex, gigantic, turbulent world, with Earth-sized polar cyclones, plunging storm systems that travel deep into the heart of the gas giant, and a mammoth, lumpy magnetic field that may indicate it was generated closer to the planet's surface than previously thought.

Among the findings that challenge assumptions are those provided by Juno's imager, JunoCam. The images show both of Jupiter's poles are covered in Earth-sized swirling storms that are densely clustered and rubbing together.

Another surprise comes from Juno's Microwave Radiometer (MWR), which samples the thermal microwave radiation from Jupiter's atmosphere, from the top of the ammonia clouds to deep within its atmosphere. The MWR data indicates that Jupiter's iconic belts and zones are mysterious, with the belt near the equator penetrating all the way down, while the belts and zones at other latitudes seem to evolve to other structures. The data suggest the ammonia is quite variable and continues to increase as far down as we can see with MWR, which is a few hundred miles or kilometers.

Key Dates

Aug. 5, 2011: Launch
Oct. 1, 2013: Earth Flyby Gravity Assist
July 4, 2016: Jupiter Arrival

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: Atlas V551 (Atlas first stage with five solid rocket boosters, Centaur upper stage)

Spacecraft Mass: 7,992 pounds (3,625 kilograms) total at launch, consisting of 3,513 pounds (1,593 kilograms) of spacecraft, 2,821 pounds (1,280 kilograms) of fuel and 1,658 pounds (752 kilograms) of oxidizer.

Spacecraft Instruments:

  1. Gravity Science Experiment
  2. Magnetometer (MAG)
  3. Microwave Radiometer (MWR)
  4. Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instrument (JEDI)
  5. Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE)
  6. Waves
  7. Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM)
  8. Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS)
  9. JunoCam

Additional Resources

NASA: Juno

Southwest Research Institute: Juno

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: Juno

Jupiter News