Google Doodle Celebrates Juno's Jupiter Arrival
Google posted a doodle celebrating the Juno spacecraft's successful July 4, 2016 arrival at Jupiter.
Credit: Google

The scientists and engineers behind NASA's Juno mission aren't the only ones cheering the spacecraft's successful arrival at Jupiter Monday (July 4).

Just minutes after Juno entered orbit around Jupiter late Monday night, Google's search page began showcasing a "doodle" celebrating the spaceflight accomplishment.

In the retro, highly pixelated doodle, the rotating Juno spacecraft forms the second "o" in Google, which looms above a rendering of Jupiter in the background. Six very happy figures jump up and down to the left of this scene, which also features old-school icons of clapping hands, party hats and flashing cameras.

Juno launched in August 2011 on a $1.1 billion mission to investigate the composition, interior structure and gravitational and magnetic fields of Jupiter. The probe's observations should reveal a great deal about how Jupiter — and, by extension, the solar system — formed and evolved, mission officials have said.

Juno achieved orbit around the huge planet Monday after successfully executing a make-or-break 35-minute engine burn, which began at 11:18 p.m. EDT (0318 GMT on Tuesday, July 5).

The spacecraft's current path takes it around Jupiter once every 53 days. Juno will perform another burn in October that reduces its orbital period to 14 days. The probe will then begin its main science mission, scrutinizing Jupiter with nine different instruments through February 2018, when Juno will end its life with an intentional death dive into the planet's thick atmosphere.

Google has a history of posting astronomy and spaceflight-related doodles. For example, recent doodles have celebrated the discovery of liquid water on Mars, the New Horizons spacecraft's historic 2015 flyby of Pluto and the Rosetta mission's unprecedented landing on a comet in late 2014.

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