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Spacecraft lifts off for Jupiter

Nasa has launched a solar-powered spacecraft on a five-year mission to Jupiter.

The robotic explorer, named Juno, blasted off on board an unmanned rocket from Cape Canaveral.

It will take Juno five years to reach the largest planet in the solar system.

Juno is solar powered with three huge panels, a first for a spacecraft intended to roam so far from the sun. The total mission will cost 1.1 billion US dollars (£671 million).

Scientists hope to discover the recipe for making planets by identifying Jupiter's secret ingredients. The gas giant is believed to be the solar system's oldest planet.

Attached to Juno are three little Lego figures.

They represent the Italian physicist Galileo, who discovered Jupiter's biggest moons; the Roman god Jupiter; and his wife Juno, after whom the spacecraft was named.

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From Belfast Telegraph