425 Million Miles from Earth, American Spacecraft Prepares for Jupiter

Posted: Feb 04, 2016 2:00 PM

On Wednesday, the American spacecraft Juno fired its thrusters to adjust its path for a successful orbit around the giant gas planet Jupiter sometime around July 4, 2016.  A product of NASA's New Frontier Missions, the solar-powered Juno spacecraft left Earth on August 5, 2011 en route to Jupiter.  

"This is the first of two trajectory adjustments that fine tune Juno’s orbit around the sun, perfecting our rendezvous with Jupiter on July 4th at 8:18 p.m. PDT [11:18 p.m. EDT]," Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator, said in a statement.

Juno is around 425 million miles from Earth and 51 million miles from Jupiter.  

Once it reaches Jupiter, Juno will orbit the planet a total of 33 times, coming as close as 3,100 feet above its cloud tops. NASA hopes the mission will help scientists learn more about Jupiter's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. 

Check out Juno's flight path: