NASA launches orbiter that will reach Jupiter in five years [Updated]S

Here's something that might make you feel a little bit better about the world. NASA just successfully launched the Juno spacecraft, a solar-powered vehicle which will reach Jupiter five years from now. And NASA used an Atlas V rocket to do so. That's right — a former ICBM is being used to carry a peaceful scientific mission.

Update: Keith Cowing with NASA Watch informs us that the Atlas V rocket is not actually "a former ICBM." He writes:

It is a rocket designed from scratch in the 1990s. Atlas V was never designed to launch warheads. It was designed to launch satellites. It is an EELV - Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. It bears the same resemblance to the 1950's Atlas ICBM as today's VW beetle has to the car Hitler first made in the 1940s i.e. a name and a shape.

The Juno spacecraft will orbit Jupiter 30 times, to find out more about the planet. Juno will:

investigate its origin and evolution with eight instruments to probe its internal structure and gravity field, measure water and ammonia in its atmosphere, map its powerful magnetic field and observe its intense auroras.

[NASA, thanks for the reminder Rachel Chalmers!]