Barring complications, the NASA Juno mission will enter the orbit of Jupiter in the early evening (Pacific Time) on the Fourth of July (not the first time NASA has time a milestone for one of its missions to Independence Day). Launched in August 2011, Juno is the first NASA mission to Jupiter since the Galileo craft burned up in the Jovian atmosphere in 2003 (after nearly 8 years in orbit). The craft will enter a polar orbit, get as close as 3,000 miles above the top of the atmosphere and focus on learning more about the composition of Jupiter. It is expected to orbit until February of 2018, when it is intended to send the probe to a fiery end in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
As is common for many NASA missions, there are videos explaining the purpose of the mission and giving an artist rendering of the craft at work. Here’s the Juno mission trailer from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Expect the usual science channels to have specials connected to the Juno mission sometime next week. What is a bit different this time is that NASA has collaborated with Apple on a Juno film (H/T Gizmodo). Titled Visions of Harmony, the short film is available for free via iTunes and Apple Music. The theme of the film is the similarities between making music and exploring space. There are several songs used in the film from a variety of artists, and the background music was created by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross by using sounds emitted by Jupiter and collected by NASA instruments.
Elements of this music sound similar to what is on this video, which marks the transition to Jupiter’s magnetosphere the Juno spacecraft passed last week.
If you want to track with the Juno mission all along its lifespan, the NASA Eyes on the Solar System should give you the visualizations you need. And while the anticipated orbit insertion time will run against July 4th fireworks shows in the Western U.S., later time zones won’t have such competition for their eyeballs.