Juno is NASA's second mission in the New Frontiers Program to study our solar system. The Mission is targeting Planet Jupiter to learn more about the gas giant and the evolution of our solar system.
Launching on an Atlas V Rocket in the 551 configuration between August 5 and August 26, 2011, Juno begins a 5-year journey to its destination. Its path will take the spacecraft 1.5 times around the sun and once around earth to boost its velocity by using earth's gravity before taking off to Jupiter. Juno will reach the planet in 2016 to begin about 1 year of exploration orbiting the giant planet more than 34 times every 11 days. It will be the first spacecraft to go this deep into space with solar arrays as primary power source.
The mission will study Jupiter's interior and examine the planet's atmosphere, giving scientists the opportunity to validate theories or develop new theories on Jupiter's formation. Juno will be the first spacecraft to look beneath Jupiter's thick cloud cover and study many aspects of the planet, such as weather conditions, radiation and the planet's magnetosphere. The strong magnestosphere generates the most powerful auroras - nothern and southern lights - that can be found in the entire solar system. Those auroras will be monitored by Juno. The Spacecraft will identify particles that cause the auroras and how those interact with Jupiter's atmosphere.
Eventually, Juno will answer fundamental questions that have remained secrets up to this day. Scientists will be able to determine if the planet has a solid core and estimate its mass. Jupiter also holds valuable information on the Solar System's evolution that could be unveiled by the Juno mission.
Everytime Juno passes within 3,100 miles from the Planet's cloud tops, it will gather unprecedented data that will change the way we look at the gas giant.
The Vehicle also includes a camera that will be "controlled" by the public. NASA will invite the public to deveop images that were taken by this full-color, wide-angle camera from raw data. The public will also have the opportunity of chosing areas of Jupiter that should be photographed.