NASA's Juno Reaches Jupiter, Eerie Sounds Recorded As Space Probe Reaches Massive Planet [Video]

After a five-year journey into space, NASA's spacecraft Juno finally reaches Jupiter to begin its orbit around the giant planet, which is the second time the planet has been orbited by a spacecraft, according to an article by ABC 7 Chicago. The first time was by Galileo, which was launched in 1989 and orbited Jupiter for nearly a decade, recording the planet's gaseous terrain.

Scott Bolton, Juno's chief scientist, said in a post-mission briefing that Jupiter had been "conquered" after Juno began it's orbit around Jupiter. Juno was launched in 2011 by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is a $1.1 billion mission to map the interior of Jupiter's cloud-covered atmosphere.

While Juno was approaching Jupiter, the spacecraft took pictures of Jupiter and its four moons, but the probe's camera and instruments were turned off during the arrival. Juno will turn its instruments back on in a few days, but the real work of mapping the interior won't begin until Juno swings in closer to Jupiter in late August. The Juno's mission is to travel into Jupiter's clouds within 3,000 miles, which is closer than earlier missions. This will allow Juno to map the planet's gravity and magnetic fields when it reaches the gaseous and cloudy interior.
Questions that are hoped to be answered include whether or not Jupiter has a solid core, how much water exists on the planet, and why Jupiter's southern and northern lights are the brightest in the solar system.

Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in Texas, explained why Juno must go closer than before, to search below the gaseous atmosphere of the planet.

"What Juno's about is looking beneath that surface. We've got to go down and look at what's inside, see how it's built, how deep these features go, learn about its real secrets."
Pictures are not the only media captured by Juno when it reached Jupiter, as the spacecraft was recording during the entire trip. When it approached the giant planet, NASA heard eerie sounds coming from Jupiter. There were two different recordings as heard in the video featured below.

The first was when Juno reached Jupiter's bowshock, which is when the magnetic field of an astrophysical object interacts with nearby flowing ambient plasma, according to an article by AOL. A shock wave between solar winds and the planet's magnetopause creates an eerie sound as evidenced in the video. This sound was heard on June 24 by NASA for a few hours, which is impressive when it is noted that Juno was traveling at 150,000 miles per hour. The video notes that the sound is similar to a sonic boom.

The second sound recording is when Juno reaches Jupiter's magnetopause, which is "the boundary where solar winds press through the original boundary of the bowshock with the same strength as the object's magnetic field" on June 25. The above video describes the magnetopause as the boundary between the Sun's magnetic fields and Jupiter's magnetic fields, and the sound is made from Juno crossing that boundary. Both sounds are equally eerie and are referred to as the "roar of Jupiter."
Juno traveled over five years and crossed 1.8 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers) of space on its journey to Jupiter. On the way, the spacecraft toured the inner solar system, which followed a swing past the Earth that "catapulted it beyond the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter."

While traveling to Jupiter, Juno encountered a hostile environment along the way. The spacecraft's computer and electronics were housed in a titanium vault to protect them from radiation blasts that are equal to "more than 100 million dental X-rays" during Juno's mission. Juno is also the first solar-powered spacecraft to reach Jupiter, beating Europe's Rosetta spacecraft. Three massive solar "wings" jut out from Juno and look like windmill blades. Those wings generate 500 watts of power in order to run Juno's nine instruments.

Juno will end its mission in 2018, when it will deliberately dive into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrate in order to keep the spacecraft from accidentally crashing into one of the planet's moons, which are potentially habitable.

[Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Images]