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Three LEGO Minifigs Are About to Enter Jupiter’s Orbit

This week, on July 4th at around 9 p.m. Pacific, NASA‘s Juno spacecraft will reach the end of its five year trip to Jupiter and enter into the orbit of our solar system’s largest planet. It’s been a long journey to travel those 2.8 billion kilometers, and the probe still has much work to do, so it’s nice that NASA made sure to send it on its way with some LEGOs to play with to help pass the time.

That’s because when Juno launched back in August of 2011, NASA announced that it would be traveling with three LEGO figures on board: the astronomer Galileo, the Roman god Jupiter, and his wife Juno. The inclusion of the figures was part of NASA and LEGO’s joint partnership to encourage kids to study science and math.

juno-spacecraft
Galileo’s likeness on a to Jupiter is especially fitting, because among his many discoveries are four satellite moons of Jupiter, named in his honor as the Galilean moons.

As for the spacecraft, manageded by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), it will engage in a series of burns and moves to help place it in capture orbit, so it can save fuel, and then it will begin a 53.5 day orbit, followed by a “14-day orbit that will occur during the mission’s primary science collection period.”

A journey to Jupiter? LEGOs going for the ride? Space and adventure?

Everything really is awesome.

What appropriate LEGO figure would you have included on Juno? Help build our comments section below by telling us your answer.

Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech/KSC

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