Topping scientists' wish list is knowing how much water Jupiter contains, information that they can feed into computer simulations to calculate how and where the planet formed.
RELATED: Why July 4 Is a Big Day for Space Exploration
"If Jupiter formed really far from the sun and drifted inward you'll get a different amount of water than if it formed where it is now," said Juno project scientist Steven Levin, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Jupiter orbits about five times farther away from the sun than Earth.
"If it formed, as we think is likely, from icy planetesimals -- large chunks of ice that collided together -- and made a giant planet, then you'll get a different amount of water than if it formed some other way, such as directly condensing from the same material that made the sun," Levin said.
As the largest planet, Jupiter influenced the rest of the solar system's formation, including the location of Earth and its suitability for life.
RELATED: Speeding Juno Probe Ready to 'Hit the Brakes' at Jupiter
"By studying Jupiter you're going to get on piece of the puzzle, not necessarily how life formed but maybe how the ingredients that made up life eventually got spread around in the early solar system and got to us," said Juno lead scientist Scott Bolton, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
To collect its data, Juno will spend 20 months flying as close as 3,000 miles from the tops of Jupiter's clouds, a position that leaves it vulnerable to the planet's massive radiation.
The spacecraft's electronics are protected inside a radiation-resistant titanium vault, but NASA expects to end the mission after 37 orbits, each of which will last 14 days.
RELATED: Stunning Aurora Seen Over Jupiter
It will take Juno about six weeks to tweak its orbit and begin its science mission. On its final swing around Jupiter, Juno, like Galileo before it, will steer itself into the planet's crushing atmosphere to avoid possible contamination of the ocean-bearing moon Europa.
Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Jupiter: