Jupiter Orbital Insertion: Juno's Dive Into the Unknown

On July 4, a NASA probe will dive deep into arguably the most dangerous region of the solar system: Jupiter's radiation belts. And the space agency has released an awesome video showcasing some of the "unknowns" that could threaten the spacecraft.

RELATED: Juno Mission Feels Jupiter's Gravitational Hug

Sure, we've had a mission in orbit around the gas giant before — Galileo — and had several flyby missions — Voyager, Pioneer, New Horizons etc. — but we've never sent an intrepid robotic explorer so close to Jupiter's cloud tops to investigate what lies beneath. Jupiter is well known for its hefty gravitational field that can slingshot asteroids and comets on random paths, plus magnetic and electric fields that supercharge energetic particles. All of these factors pose a risk to spacecraft and, as we've never ventured so close, Jupiter may be about the most risky place to do science.

And like the brilliant, drama-filled "7 Minutes of Terror" promo video for Curiosity's landing on Mars in 2012, this Juno promo is just as thrilling. Check it out... and brace yourselves for one hell of a ride.

Originally on Discovery News.

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Media Relations Specialist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Ian O'Neill is a media relations specialist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California. Prior to joining JPL, he served as editor for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific‘s Mercury magazine and Mercury Online and contributed articles to a number of other publications, including Space.com, Space.com, Live Science, HISTORY.com, Scientific American. Ian holds a Ph.D in solar physics and a master's degree in planetary and space physics.