Houston: NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit yesterday after a five-year journey from Earth, in a giant step to understand the origin and evolution of the king of planets and the solar system.

A model of the Juno spacecraft
A model of the Juno spacecraft. Pic/AFP

As America celebrated its Independence Day, mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) erupted in cheers when the USD 1.1 billion Juno spacecraft sent home the news of successfully executing a 35-minute engine burn that put the probe into the planned orbit around Jupiter.

Juno launched on August 5, 2011. “With Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter’s massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet’s interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved,” said NASA administrator Charlie Bolden.