Juno probe will remain in current orbit of Jupiter. The craft has been in Jupiter’s orbit since July 4, 2016. For the rest of the mission, NASA decided to let the probe remain in the gas giant’s orbit. Thus, Juno will achieve its goal while also deflecting the risk of a previously-planned engine firing bound to reduce the orbital period of the craft to 14 days.
- Since its launch back on July 4, 2016, the ship circled the planet four times already.
- Juno probe flew as close as 2,600 miles to the surface of the planet.
- The purpose is to reduce the orbital period to 14 days.
Thomas Zurbunchen, an associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, claimed that Juno is still functional, having all its tools fully operational. The captures and the data received are fantastic. He thinks that the decision to postpone the engine firing is a suitable way to do things, preserving the craft to allow Juno probe to discover many other amazing things.
Since the spacecraft arrived at Jupiter, it managed to orbit around it four times already. The most recent orbit completed on February 2nd. The next orbit around the giant planet will be finalized on March 27. The orbital time span will not be able to affect the quality of the data gathered by Juno probe during every flyby. The altitude over Jupiter will remain the same during the flybys.
Moreover, if the orbit is longer than it will be bound to provide more chances to explore and discover new data about the magnetic field of the gas giant. In this way, the value of June probe’s research will increase. During every flyby, June spacecraft flies low over the cloud tops of Jupiter, reaching as close as 2,600 miles. Thus, June can probe underneath the cloud cover, studying the auroras forming on Jupiter to receive more information regarding the origins of the planet, its magnetosphere, and its atmosphere.
The original plan for this mission implied that Juno would circle Jupiter twice, every flyby being of 53 days. The primary goal was to decrease this orbital period to 14 days for the missions which were left. Nevertheless, the two helium check valves which are part of the engine did not work as they were expected when pressurizing the propulsion system in October.
Telemetry available on the probe suggested that the valves needed several minutes until they opened. During past flybys, they only took a few seconds to function. Rick Nybakken, the project manager of Juno at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, argued that after a detailed review, specialists looked at several scenarios which could place Juno in a shorter time span flyby.
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