Journey to Jupiter: NASA spacecraft nears planet rendezvous

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jupiter takes center stage with the arrival next week of a NASA spacecraft. The solar-powered Juno spacecraft is on the final leg of a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile trip to the biggest planet in the solar system. As Juno approaches Jupiter late Monday, it will fire its main...

 
              This composite image provided by NASA on Thursday, June 30, 2016 illustrates auroras on the planet Jupiter. This view was produced by NASA using a photograph made by the Hubble Space Telescope in spring 2014, and ultraviolet observations of the auroras in 2016. Earth’s polar lights are triggered by solar storms, which occur when a cloud of gas from the sun encounters the planet’s magnetic field. Jupiter’s powerful auroras are sparked by the planet’s own rotation. (NASA/ESA/Hubble via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jupiter takes center stage with the arrival next week of a NASA spacecraft.

The solar-powered Juno spacecraft is on the final leg of a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile trip to the biggest planet in the solar system.

As Juno approaches Jupiter late Monday, it will fire its main rocket engine to slow down and slip into orbit around the planet for a year.

It's designed to peek through Jupiter's thick, swirling clouds and map the planet from the inside out.

Jupiter is a gas giant made up mostly of hydrogen and helium unlike rocky Earth and its neighbor Mars. The fifth planet from the sun likely formed first and it could hold clues to how the solar system developed.

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