Today, July 4, 2016, the NASA probe Juno will arrive at Jupiter. It launched in 2011 and needed to slingshot back around the Earth in order to gather enough speed to reach Jupiter. The plan today will be to insert the Juno probe into Jupiter’s orbit, gather information, then get it out. Today’s will be the first of multiple such manoeuvres.
For a cheesy, yet informative NASA trailer, you can view the video below. To find the NASA live feed of the event, which will occur some time this afternoonish, go to NASA’s Facebook page here.
Although human exploration of space has stalled in recent decades, we are currently living in a golden age of discovery and robotic exploration of the solar system, with new extra-solar planets being discovered, as well as new planets (or potential new planets) in Earth’s solar system, probes sent to Pluto, Saturn, and the landing of probes on Mars.
The breakthroughs achieved by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, in being able to land and reuse rockets which have returned from Earth orbit, and the fact that competitors to SpaceX are close on its tail, mean that we are likely to be on the cusp on a new era of human exploration and colonisation of the solar system.