Welcome to Jupiter, Juno.


NASA aren’t the only ones celebrating the Juno spacecraft’s successful arrival at Jupiter this week.

In a surprise move, and also that someone at Google was obviously hoping and anticipating that Juno wouldn’t miss or indeed slam right into Jupiter, literally minutes after Juno entered orbit Google’s search page began showcasing a new “doodle” celebrating the spaceflight accomplishment.

And it is a major feat for science and engineering without doubt.

The arrival at Jupiter is the culmination of a five year, five hundred-million-mile journey for the small spacecraft. But “small” in this case is a relative term.

Juno had a weight of three thousand, five hundred pounds on Earth and is built like a tank. The reason for that is because Jupiter’s waiting upper atmosphere is quite hostile.

As NASA took seven years to build the craft, and then spent several thousand hours testing it, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Juno covered her with Titanium shielding to withstand the powerful radiation, freezing temperatures and pummelling fast travelling orbiting rocks. It’s hoped that the armour will keep Juno safe for her planned yearlong orbit of Jupiter.

The other reason for the titanium shielding is that the Juno mission wasn’t cheap.  When it launched back in 2011, the mission was estimated to cost around One point one billion dollars.

The doodle itself has a pixelated retro early nineties video game feel to it, reminiscent of some the early Star Trek games, and features a rotating image of the Juno craft where the second “O” of Google should be. Six happy NASA scientists are seen to jumping up and down back in mission control.

The Juno doodle is not the first astronomy related image Google have done either.  They celebrated the Rosetta mission back in 2014, and also featured the New Horizons flyby of Pluto in 2015.