As a kid, you always know that there was something a little magical about those simple shapes. You’d spend hours creating marvellous scenes and impossible inventions, which in all honesty, hardly looked the way you’d envisioned them.
All that’s changing.
The plastic men are on the move.
And they are moving over 400 million miles.
KitGuru dons a radiation suit and goes to investigate.
With the final voyage of the Space Shuttle still fresh in everyone’s minds, NASA is moving ‘manned’ space flight into a completely new zone. One where robots and plastic men rule.
On a bright and clear Friday afternoon, at Space Launch Complex 41, the Juno spacecraft’s Atlas V launch rocket roared into full flame – propelling this amazing craft on a 5 year mission to Jupiter. On-board were 3 very special passengers.
Assuming Juno arrives unharmed, it will have the honour of having travelled further on solar energy than any other spacecraft.
Just to make all you hardcore enthusiasts feel guilty, when fully deployed in orbit around Jupiter, Juno’s three solar panels will generate around 400 watts. We’ve used almost as much for a single graphics card!
Technically, Juno won’t leave Earth’s vicinity until 2013. It will spend the first 2 years or so, lining up a slingshot around the Earth to gain the velocity needed for the jump to Jupiter.
It will arrive in orbit around July 2016 and, after collecting all of the data required, will plunge itself into Jupiter’s atmosphere in one final, explosive experiment. That will happen in October 2017.
The size of Jupiter is such that, at an orbital height of just over 3,000 miles, it will only go around the massive planet 32 times in a year. Spacecraft normally orbit the earth in about 90 minutes (they are closer and Earth is smaller).
You can get all the additional Juno info you need from NASA themselves, over here.
Unsurprisingly, Lego has launched a new series called Alien Invasion. Please note that, in this case, we’re the aliens.
Here’s the take-off.
KitGuru says: It’s an inspiring mission. It might be just another small step for man, but it’s a giant leap for Lego kind.
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