NASA spacecraft to reach Jupiter on 4th of July

Published: Jul. 3, 2016 at 9:33 PM EDT
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After traveling through space for nearly five years, NASA's Juno spacecraft is expected to arrive at Jupiter on the Fourth of July.

Juno launched back in August of 2011, setting out on a 1.8 billion mile trip to the solar system's largest planet.

The goal of the $1.1 billion mission is to improve our understanding of Jupiter's formation and evolution and help us better understand the history of our own solar system.

Monday, NASA says the spacecraft will maneuver into Jupiter's orbit to explore its cloud covered atmosphere.

It will orbit the planet more than 30 times, skimming about 3,000 miles above the cloud tops.

Scientists don't expect Juno to survive much longer than 20 months in Jupiter's harsh radiation environment.

Before the spacecraft breaks down, it will be given a command to dive into the atmosphere to avoid colliding with the planet's moons.