PASADENA, Calif. --Launched by NASA in August 2011, the spacecraft Juno is set to arrive at Jupiter on July 4.
Currently cartwheeling through space, once Juno gets close enough to Jupiter, it will slow down and use its reverse thrusters to enter into the planet's gravitational pull.
For a year and a half, Juno will orbit Jupiter over 30 times and map the entire planet in hopes of answering questions about the gas giant and the solar system.
However, there could potentially be some major complications.
Scott Bolton, who is leading the mission, expresses concern that it is very high risk.
"If that rocket motor fires at the wrong time in the wrong direction, doesn't burn long enough, then we won't get into orbit the way we need to be. We may go into an orbit but a different orbit or if a really bad catastrophe happens you could fly right by Jupiter," Bolton said.
If successful, Juno will be able to reveal the story of Jupiter's formation and evolution and what the planet is made of, all while observing its gravity and magnetic fields.
Once the mission is complete, Juno will send NASA the new data and photos. The spacecraft will not come back to Earth, instead redirecting itself to crash into Jupiter.
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