NASA spacecraft enters into orbit around Jupiter
JUly 5, NY: The US space agency, NASA, has successfully reached Jupiter on Monday after a five-year voyage to begin exploring the king of the planets.
The Juno satellite, which left Earth five years ago, had to fire a rocket engine to slow its approach to the planet and get caught by its gravity.
The arrival at Jupiter was dramatic. As Juno approached its target, it fired its rocket engine to slow itself down and gently slipped into orbit. Because of the communication time lag between Jupiter and Earth, Juno was on autopilot when it executed the daring move, media reports said.
A sequence of tones transmitted from the spacecraft confirmed the braking manoeuvre had gone as planned.
Receipt of the radio messages prompted wild cheering at Nasa's mission control in Pasadena, California.
Scientists plan to use the spacecraft to sense the planet's deep interior. They think the structure and the chemistry of its insides hold clues to how this giant world formed some four-and-a-half-billion years ago, BBC reported.
Engineers had warned in advance that the engine firing was fraught with danger. No previous spacecraft has dared pass so close to Jupiter; its intense radiation belts can destroy unprotected electronics.
Tuesday's orbit insertion has put Juno in a large ellipse around the planet that takes just over 53 days to complete.
A second burn of the rocket engine in mid-October will tighten this orbit to just 14 days. It is then that the science can really start, according to media reports.
The Oslo Times International News Network