Juno Make Successful First Close Pass Of Jupiter
NASA's Juno exploratory spacecraft just made it's first successful close pass to gas giant Jupiter on August 27, orbiting within 3,000 miles of the surface. Jupiter is an enormous, active planet, and there are a lot of forces at play that could adversely affect the RV-sized space probe, so getting the first orbit under their belt without mishap is a big deal.
NASA hopes to get 36 orbits out of Juno over the next 20 months before radiation slowly breaks down its electronics and propulsion system. Even though a 1cm-thick wall of titanium provide some protection for the spacecraft’s electronics, a few of its nine instruments may begin to fail in as few as eight or 10 orbits.