The biggest space event of the year is happening soon. On July 4, NASA’s un-crewed Juno spacecraft will end its nearly five-year journey through space and embark on a mission to study the planet Jupiter like never before.
But first, the spacecraft must lock on to Jupiter into what’s called a polar orbit. This is the most dangerous part of the entire Juno mission, and is what NASA will be watching instead of fireworks this holiday weekend.
If something goes wrong, the US$1.13 billion mission will shoot past Jupiter, into deep space with no chance of return. NASA only has one shot at this. The engine burn will start at 11:18pm ET on July 4.
You can watch the action at NASA unfold beginning at 10:30pm ET, as engineers monitor Juno’s instruments and anxiously await confirmation of the burn’s success. Witness history in the making on NASA TV or above: