NASA's Juno spacecraft launched back in 2011 for a Star Trek-style five-year mission to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. Jupiter may also be the roughest, toughest planet around. The space agency released a movie-style trailer highlighting Jupiter's many intimidating features and how challenging it will be for Juno to accomplish its mission to learn more about the planet's origin and evolution.
The trailer, released on Tuesday, features dramatic lines about the beast that is Jupiter: "It's a monster. It's unforgiving. It's relentless." The video is filled with the sort of music you might expect from a movie like "Pacific Rim." Intense computer graphics show the planet slinging debris and illustrate the daredevil path of Juno's visit.
Juno is scheduled to arrive at the planet on July 4. It will move in close to gather data, but that part of the journey is fraught with peril. Jupiter spins fast and has an intense gravitational pull and magnetic field to go along with extreme background radiation. "No spacecraft has ever flown this close to Jupiter," NASA reminds us. Juno should be up to the task. Its electronics are housed in what is essentially a titanium vault to protect it from the brutal conditions.
Hopefully, NASA will get to release a triumphant follow-up film after a successful flyby.