LITTLETON, Colo. — More than 100 people gathered at Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems facility on Monday to watch the Juno spacecraft make its approach into Jupiter’s orbit.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Scientists are hoping to learn how the solar system formed through the mission. They believe Jupiter holds the key to that answer.
Juno was developed by scientists and engineers at Lockheed Martin. On Monday, family and friends were allowed to sit in and watch the spacecraft’s descent.
Juno spent five years traveling hundreds of millions of miles to reach Jupiter. It reached the large planet before 10 p.m. MDT Monday.
About an hour later, good news from NASA.
— NASA (@NASA) July 5, 2016
The craft is roughly the size of a basketball court, according to Lockheed Martin. The mission is also geared at learning how Jupiter formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Juno will spend the next 20 months orbiting Jupiter 37 times to study the planet. The mission cost $1 billion.
Juno has three Lego figurines on board. The figures represent the Roman God “Jupiter,” his wife “Juno” and the Italian astronomer “Galileo.”