The Juno mission is the next scientific investigation in the NASA New Frontiers Program. The mission's primary science goal is to significantly improve our understanding of the formation and structure of Jupiter. By advancing our knowledge of the giant planet, we will also dramatically advance our understanding of the origins and early evolution of our own solar system at the most fundamental level.
The Juno spacecraft will investigate Jupiter's origins, its interior structure, its deep atmosphere and its magnetosphere from an innovative, highly elliptical orbit with a suite of seven science instruments. In addition, a camera called JunoCam will be used by student participants in the Juno Education and Public Outreach program to take the first images of Jupiter's polar regions.
Juno will achieve the mission science goals by sending a spinning, solar-powered spacecraft into a unique Jupiter polar orbit with close perijove. The mission design provides a maximum delivered payload to Jupiter and a unique polar orbit which satisfies the science measurement requirements while minimizing the radiation exposure of the science instruments. Juno is currently planned to be launched in August 2011 and will travel towards Jupiter after an Earth fly-by in October 2013 to provide a gravity assist.
After a five year journey the spacecraft arrives at Jupiter in 2016. A Jupiter Orbit Insertion (JOI) and JOI clean up over the next two perijoves (closest point to Jupiter) assures an ~11 day orbit. Perijove at 1.06 Jupiter Radii and apojove at ~39 Jupiter Radii combined with the 90 degree polar orbit, provides the resolution and global viewing geometry required to achieve the mission science goals. The polar orbit with close perijove also allows the spacecraft to avoid the bulk of the Jovian radiation field. During the one year, 32 orbit nominal mission, the line of apsides or the orbit precesses due to Jupiter's oblateness. The 32 orbit one year mission at Jupiter fits nicely between solar conjunctions, further simplifying mission operations.