Pack Your Bags, We’re Going To Jupiter

Science fiction movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Outland, and Star Trek Into Darkness have taken viewers in and around a simulated Jupiter, but we’ve rarely had a good look at the real deal—until now. Known as the harshest planet in the solar system, Jupiter confronts any spacecraft with a toxic mix of radiation and gaseous turbulence. In Jupiter: Close Encounter—a new hour-long documentary from the makers of Pluto: First Encounter—NASA’s heavily armoured Juno Spacecraft will attempt to enter a “polar orbit” around the solar system’s largest planet.

In this special, you’ll get unique access to this mission and a dedicated team of scientists confronting the most high stakes challenges of their lives. But why should you care about Jupiter? For one, NASA’s Dr. Scott Bolton—who also happens to be the Principal Investigator for the Juno Mission—believes that this planet holds the secrets of life on Earth. “No other planet can reveal as much information as Jupiter about our own origins,” adds Jupiter: Close Encounter host Dr. Dan Riskin. “If they make it, a five-billion-year-old treasure chest will be opened.”

The Juno spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter five years after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Over the course of its mission, this solar-powered spacecraft will be exposed to radiation equal to roughly 100 million dental X-rays. You can watch Jupiter: Close Encounter from the un-radiated comfort of your living room tomorrow night at 7e 4p. For a video pre-brief directly from NASA—that elaborates on the significance of the Jupiter mission—watch the video below.