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We’re about to start our journey to Jupiter to unlock the secrets of the early solar system,” said Scott Bolton, the mission’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “After eight years of development, the spacecraft is ready for its important mission.” Juno’s eight instruments are set to record information about Jupiter’s interior, atmosphere and aurora. This information will help NASA scientists understand how the solar system was formed. When Juno reaches Jupiter it will be a whopping 507 million miles from the sun, well past the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Spacecraft which will reach 492 million miles from the sun (Rosetta is set to reach that goal next year).

Juno’s launch window lasted until August 26th but NASA saw a good chance of the craft taking the leap this morning. The launch was shown live on NASA’s live stream located on their website. The rocket had been letting out a steady stream of steam all morning in preparation for its big moment, and we were excited to see this feat of renewable energy engineering set out on a history-making journey. The spacecraft is expected to reach Jupiter by 2016 to commence its investigation of the gas giant.

+ NASA’s live stream

Via Engadget