Solar power will as soon as again aid expand humanity’s understanding with the planets when NASA’s orbital satellite, Juno, is launched on its five-year journey to Jupiter in August.

Technicians in Florida have run final pre-flight tests on the spacecraft’s 3 enormous solar panels, extending and exposing the photovoltaic cells to sunlight for the final time just before they unfurl in deep space.

Juno’s mission will likely be to orbit Jupiter’s poles 30 occasions, mapping the intense magnetic fields with the gas giant, measuring water and also other liquid levels and investigating the mysterious solid core of the planet. It really is hoped that the information collected will present crucial understanding for understanding the planetary systems becoming found about other stars.

NASA says it’s going to be the first time in background a spacecraft has relied on solar power so far out in space. Jupiter is 5 occasions additional from the sun that Earth, and receives 25 occasions less sunlight. At that distance, Juno’s massive solar panels, measuring 2.7 metres wide by 8.9 metres lengthy, will only generate about 450 watts of electrical power, compared for the 12-14 kilowatts they would on Earth.

The successful completion of testing on Juno – in Greek mythology, Juno was the wife of Jupiter and the daughter of Saturn – has been met with relief at NASA headquarters.“Completing the testing and stow of solar panels is always a massive pre-launch milestone, and with Juno, you can say truly big because our panels are really big,” mentioned Jan Chodas, Juno’s project manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The subsequent time these three enormous solar arrays are extended to their complete length, Juno is going to be climbing away from the Earth at about seven miles per second.