Set to explore beneath Jupiter's obscuring cloud cover, the probe will reach its destination by 2016.
Now officially at the half way point of its journey, the probe will actually return to within 347 miles of Earth and use it as a gravitational slingshot to achieve a higher speed of 16,330 mph on its final approach to Jupiter. Juno was launched in 2011 and is designed to circle Jupiter 33 times, during which it will use a variety of instruments to take a good hard look at what lies beneath the enigmatic cloud cover of the gas giant.
"Juno's odometer just clicked over to 9.464 astronomical units," said principal investigator Scott Bolton. "The team is looking forward, preparing for the day we enter orbit around the most massive planet in our solar system."
"Juno's name comes from Greek and Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, and his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter's true nature."
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