Technicians in the Astrotech payload processing facility in Titusville, Fla., process a solar panel that will help power NASA's Juno spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter. Power-generating panels on three sets of solar arrays will extend outward from Juno’s hexagonal body, giving the overall spacecraft a span of more than 66 feet in order to operate at such a great distance from the sun. Juno is scheduled to launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Aug. 5, 2011, reaching Jupiter in July 2016.
The spacecraft will orbit the giant planet more than 30 times, skimming to within 3,000 miles above its cloud tops, for about one year. With its suite of science instruments, the spacecraft will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras. For more information visit, www.nasa.gov/juno. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller