NASA’s Juno becomes most distant solar-powered spacecraft
NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which was sent to study the surface of Jupiter, recently broke a record as the most distant solar-powered space probe in human history, the government-run space agency announced.
The American space agency said in a statement that its solar-powered Juno spacecraft reached a distance of 493 million miles from the Sun.
Previously, the record-holder was Europe’s Rosetta space probe, which traveled 492 million miles since its launch in 2004 to land on a passing comet. The Juno space probe still has another thirty million more miles to cover.
Scott Bolton, principal investigator for Juno project at San Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute, said, “Juno is all about pushing the edge of technology to help us learn about our origins. It just seems right that the sun is helping us learn about the origin of Jupiter and the other planets that orbit it.”
Eight space probes have travelled as far out into space as where NASA’s Juno broke the record, but all of those eight probes used nuclear power to function.
Juno was launched in 2011, and it is scheduled to reach Jupiter on 4th of July this year. It will stay in Jupiter’s orbit for the next year, completing 33 rotations of the largest planet of our solar system.