All of Juno's sensitive scientific equipment is encased in a 400-pound titanium vault to defend against Jupiter’s magnetic field, but little bits of rock or dust could still do a lot of damage to a craft traveling 130,000 mph.
If the mission goes smoothly, Juno will give researchers the first close look at what's going on beneath Jupiter's clouds. Scientists are hopeful it will shed light on how other planets developed.
Since Jupiter is made of gas, Juno can't land, so the orbiter will have to take its measurements from a distance. It will continue orbiting the gas giant until it's scheduled to run into Jupiter's clouds and be incinerated in 2018.
This video includes clips from NASA. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.