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NASA launches Jupiter probe

Friday, August 05, 2011 - 02:03

Aug. 5 - NASA launches a probe for a five-year mission to Jupiter to learn more about the giant planet and how the Earth's solar system was formed. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A NASA satellite, hoisted aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket, launched on a five-year journey to Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. The robotic probe called Juno blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday (August 5). It is scheduled to spend one year cycling inside Jupiter's deadly radiation belts, far closer than any previous orbiting spacecraft. It will learn how much water the giant planet holds, what triggers its vast magnetic fields and whether a solid core lies beneath its dense, hot atmosphere. Scientists believe Jupiter was the first planet to form after the birth of the sun, though exactly how that happened is unknown. One key piece of missing data is how much water is inside the giant planet. Juno's journey to Jupiter will take five years. Upon arrival in July 2016, Juno will thread itself into a narrow region between the planet and the inner edge of its radiation belt. The solar-powered probe will then spend a year orbiting over Jupiter's poles, coming as close as 3,100 miles (4,989 km) above its cloud tops. The mission, the second in NASA's lower-cost, quick-turnaround New Frontiers planetary expeditions, costs $1.1 billion.

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NASA launches Jupiter probe

Friday, August 05, 2011 - 02:03