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Solar-powered rocket to fly to Jupiter

This 2010 artist's rendering depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft with Jupiter in the background. The robotic explorer Juno is set to become the most distant probe ever powered by the sun. Launch is set for Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, aboard an unmanned Atlas V rocket - barely two weeks after NASA's final space shuttle flight. (NASA/JPL)

August 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
NASA is embarking on a journey to Jupiter. A solar-powered, windmill-shaped spacecraft named "Juno" is set to become the most distant probe ever powered by the sun.

It leaves Friday on a trip that will take five years.

Once it finally reaches Jupiter, the hope is Juno can send back photos of the planet, the largest in the solar system.

Juno is the first of three high-profile astronomy missions for NASA in the coming months. Other destinations include the moon and Mars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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