NASA's dangerous Juno mission: Unravel Jupiter's secrets and solve the mysteries of life

July 4, 2016 9:28 AM

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Late at night, when the halls around her were empty, Heidi Becker positioned her subject in the crosshairs of an electron-shooting linear accelerator. Along with her companions, she arranged a cartload of heavy lead bricks to make sure the deadly radiation would hit only its intended target.

By day, the accelerator at the Curie Institute hospital in Paris was used to kill tumors in cancer patients. This time, its lethal gaze would be aimed at an early version of the star tracker aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft, which is set to enter Jupiter's orbit on July 4.

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