NASA has extended the mission of the Juno spacecraft for another 4 years. During its new mission, the spacecraft will pass several times in front of Jupiter’s rings and moons to study some important features of the planet’s surface, including massive polar tornadoes and mysterious blue spots.
Juno was launched in 2011 and reached Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year journey of 2.7 billion kilometers and studied it for four and a half years. Juno revolutionized human understanding of the gas giant and revealed important information about the internal structure and complex processes of the magnetic field and its atmosphere.
Juno has been in operation for more than four years despite being exposed to destructive radiation, and none of its equipment has been significantly damaged. That’s why NASA has decided to extend the Juno mission for another four years Extend Until this probe continues to study Jupiter and its moons. The new mission will last from August 2021 to September 2025, and if there is no problem, the probe will orbit Jupiter 42 more times.
Over the next four years, the spacecraft will pass close to Ganymede twice, three times near Europe and eleven times in front of Io, and will study their characteristics, including the radiation around them.
Juno will face Ganymede in June this year and will arrive in Europe in late September. The spacecraft will continue its mission by using the gravitational force of Jupiter’s moons to orbit them. Using this mission data, NASA will decide on future Jupiter study missions, including the Jupiter icy satellite probe mission, or JUICE and Europa Clipper for short.
Juno will carefully study Jupiter’s rings and the surface features of the planet, including massive polar tornadoes and a large blue dot. The probe will then study the structure, atmosphere and magnetic field around Jupiter (magnetosphere) and transmit large amounts of valuable data to Earth via NASA’s Remote Space Network (DSN).