NASA’s Juno probe was launched in 2011 with the mission to study Jupiter’s atmosphere. The probe entered in the orbit of the giant gaseous planet in our solar system in July 2016 and since then has revealed spectacular information about Jupiter. The mission was scheduled to end this summer but, yesterday, NASA made the announcement that it will extend Juno’s Jupiter mission until July 2021.
NASA also announced that the $1.1 billion budget for Juno has been extended until July 2021 and that the US space agency will cover costs related to the mission operations into 2022, reports Space.com.
“With these funds, not only can the Juno team continue to answer long-standing questions about Jupiter that first fueled this exciting mission, but they’ll also investigate new scientific puzzles motivated by their discoveries thus far. With every additional orbit, both scientists and citizen scientists will help unveil new surprises about this distant world,” reported Thomas Zurbuchen from the NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
NASA’s Juno Jupiter mission extended until July 2021, therefore, we should expect more stunning images and discoveries
Jupiter’s atmosphere is scanned by Juno when the probe approaches the giant gaseous planet, which is happening once every 53 days. Initially, Juno was supposed to adopt a less elliptical orbit with flybys around Jupiter once every two weeks.
In fact, the longer flybys Juno has to make to scan Jupiter were behind the decision to extend the mission until July 2021.
Since 2016, when NASA’s Juno Jupiter mission positioned in the giant gaseous planet’s orbit, the probe sent home lots of stunning images with Jupiter’s atmosphere, giant cyclones of Jupiter, the Great Red Spot, and so on.
Additionally, Juno’s readings on Jupiter’s atmosphere characteristics and Jupiter’s gravitational pulls helped scientists learn more about the giant gaseous planet of our solar system.
In the end, according to the scientists, the longer orbits NASA’s Juno Jupiter mission follows around the giant gaseous planet will help NASA scientists learn more about the so-called Jovian magnetosphere, the area around the planet dominated by the strong Jupiter’s magnetic field.