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NASA’s Juno successfully enters Jupiter’s orbit

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CALIFORNIA — NASA celebrated a conquest on Tuesday as its US$1 bln unnamed Juno spacecraft entered the orbit around Jupiter after a five-year voyage in order to explore the giant planet.

Ground controllers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin erupted in applause when the solar-powered Juno spacecraft beamed home news that it was circling Jupiter’s poles.

The arrival at Jupiter was dramatic. As Juno approached its target, it fired its rocket engine to slow itself down and gently slipped into orbit. Because of the communication time lag between Jupiter and Earth, Juno was on autopilot when it executed the daring move.

“Juno, welcome to Jupiter,” said mission control commentator Jennifer Delavan of Lockheed Martin, which built Juno.

The spacecraft’s camera and other instruments were switched off for arrival, so there won’t be any pictures at the moment it reaches its destination. Hours before the encounter, NASA released a series of images taken last week during the approach, showing Jupiter glowing yellow in the distance, circled by its four inner moons.

The fifth rock from the sun and the heftiest planet in the solar system, Jupiter is what’s known as a gas giant — a ball of hydrogen and helium — unlike rocky Earth and Mars.

With its billowy clouds and colorful stripes, Jupiter is an extreme world that likely formed first, shortly after the sun. Unlocking its history may hold clues to understanding how Earth and the rest of the solar system developed.

Named after Jupiter’s cloud-piercing wife in Roman mythology, Juno is only the second mission designed to spend time at Jupiter.

Galileo, launched in 1989, circled Jupiter for nearly a decade, beaming back splendid views of the planet and its numerous moons. It uncovered signs of an ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon Europa, considered a top target in the search for life outside Earth.

AP

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Lightning strike kills woman in Saptari

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RAJBIRAJ — A woman was killed when lightning struck her in the field at Bishnupur Rural Municipality-6 in Saptari district on Saturday evening.

The victim is 50-year-old Keshari Devi Yadav, wife of Shailendra Kumar Yadav, Superintendent of Police Mukesh Kumar Singh said. She was struck by thunderbolt while picking up lentils in the field.

Another woman, Rinku Yadav who had gone together with Keshari to harvest lentil, has been injured in the incident. She is being treated at the Gajendra Narayan Singh Sagarmatha Zone Hospital at Rajbiraj.

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