At approximately 12:30 p.m. EST, NASA launched the Juno spacecraft into space and towards Jupiter.
As of 1:20 p.m., the spacecraft had separated from its engine and began its trek towards Jupiter.
The mission will take Juno five years and 400-million-miles to reach the solar system's biggest planet. The goal of the mission is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
While there, Juno will orbit the planet for a year. During this time, it will investigate its origin and evolution while measuring its gravity field as well as the water and ammonia in its atmosphere. This information will help determine which planet formation theory is correct. It also will be able to help scientists learn about the formation of the solar system.
"The special thing about Juno is we're really looking at one of the first steps, the earliest time in our solar system's history," Scott Bolton, the principal investigator for the Juno mission, said in a statement. "Right after the Sun formed, what happened that allowed the planets to form and why are the planets a slightly different composition than the Sun?"
Juno will also look at Jupiter's magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet's deep structure. The planet's magnetic field is also the biggest in the solar system.
To find out the mysteries of the planet's magnetic field, Juno is equipped with two magnetometers, which can measure the magnetic field of Jupiter's magnitude and direction with greater accuracy than any previous instrument. The two magnetometers are about 6.5 feet apart on the magnetometer boom, which is fastened to the end of one of the three solar arrays.
It will reveal the field for the first time in high definition. The instruments will be able to measure the magnetic field about 60 times per second, while the entire spacecraft spins twice each minute.
The mission will also explore the mysteries of Jupiter's magnetosphere near the planet's poles, especially the auroras. This will tie in with the studies on its magnetic force field, mainly on how it affects its atmosphere.
Juno itself was launched with the help of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V equipped launch system, which come with five solid boosters. Atlas V recently made news for being attached to Boeing's future spacecraft.
Juno comes with three 34-foot-long solar arrays and a high-gain antenna in the middle. It looks like a windmill and will slowly spin its way to Jupiter. Those arrays will power Juno as it heads to Jupiter.