By this time you must have seen the Google illustrated animated doodle and you must be wondering what it means. Well it’s simple. Google is honoring NASA’s Juno spacecraft entering Jupiter’s orbit. It is honoring the team who worked hard to get the first color images of the gas giant.
After five years of preparations and another five years hurtling solo through space, the solar-powered Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit, ahead of 20 months circling the gas giant. In this time, Juno will make 37 trips around Jupiter, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit the planet’s poles, getting within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometres) of the cloud tops.
And, for the first time, NASA is handing the camera over to the public to take part in some very cool citizen science. As part of the mission, members of the public will be able to choose points of interest for the spacecraft’s JunoCam to capture in colour photos, before getting a chance to process them and share them online.
Juno performed “a suspenseful orbit insertion maneuver” to get close to Jupiter, with a 35-minute burn of its main engine slowing the spacecraft by roughly 1,212mph (542m/s) so it could enter an orbit around Jupiter.