recommended reading

Spacecraft blasts off for Jupiter

NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft blasted off on its five-year mission to Jupiter on Friday, the first mission launched after the end of the space shuttle program last month and the first representing NASA's new emphasis on unmanned space missions.

Juno will explore the largest planet in the solar system and some of its more than 50 moons. The aim is to learn more about how Jupiter formed and developed, shedding light on how solar systems and planets evolve in general.

NASA argues that these robotic missions are a better use of its resources for the time being, with the work of getting people in and out of space contracted to the private sector.

"The future of exploration includes cutting-edge science like this to help us better understand our solar system and an ever-increasing array of challenging destinations," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.

It will take just a day for Juno to travel 250,000 miles--the distance from Earth to the moon. But it's five more years--1.7 billion miles--to Jupiter. The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter's poles 33 times and use its collection of eight scientific instruments to try to see through Jupiter's thick, swirling cloud cover to see what's underneath.

"Jupiter is the Rosetta Stone of our solar system," said Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "It is by far the oldest planet, contains more material than all the other planets, asteroids, and comets combined, and carries deep inside it the story of not only the solar system but of us. Juno is going there as our emissary--to interpret what Jupiter has to say."

Threatwatch Alert

User accounts compromised

1 Million Online Gaming Accounts Exposed

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.