LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The JPL-managed Juno spacecraft is scheduled to blast off for Jupiter as early as Friday morning.
Juno is tasked with piercing dense cloud cover to gather information about the solar system’s largest planet and is decorated with images of Galileo Galilei, the Roman supreme god, Jupiter, and his wife, Juno.
Galileo discovered that Jupiter is orbited by several moons in 1610 and those satellites – named Callisto, Io, Europa, and Ganymede – are known as the Galilean moons.
Liftoff will be at Cape Canavral, Florida, with the launch window for the Atlas V rocket carrying Juno scheduled for 8:34 a.m. Pacific time on Friday morning.
The journey to Jupiter is expected to take five years then Juno will go into orbit around the gas giant for a year, giving astronomers a chance to gather data about the planet’s origin and evolution.
During the expected 33 orbits of Jupiter, Juno will help scientists determine how much water is in the planet’s atmosphere.