Juno will also fly through Europa and Io tori – annular clouds of ions – several times, characterizing the radiation environment near these satellites to better prepare the Europa Clipper and JUICE missions to optimize monitoring and planning strategies, scientific priorities and mission design. The extended mission also adds planetary geology and ring dynamics to Juneau’s extensive list of research.
The natural evolution of Juno’s orbit around the gas giant provides a wealth of new scientific opportunities that the expanded mission is taking advantage of. Each scientific omission sends a solar-powered spacecraft scaling low over Jupiter’s cloud peaks, collecting data from a unique point of view that no other spacecraft has enjoyed.
The point during each orbit where Juno approaches the planet closest is called the Parisian (or PJ). During the mission, Juno̵
“The mission’s designers have done an amazing job of creating an expanded mission that preserves the only valuable resource on board, fuel,” said Ed Hirst, Juno’s project manager at JPL. “Gravity assist from multiple satellite flights directs our spacecraft through the Jovian system, while providing a wealth of scientific opportunities. Satellite flights also reduce the Juneno orbital period, which increases the total number of scientific orbits that can be obtained. “
The satellite encounters began with Ganymede’s flight at low altitude on June 7, 2021 (PJ34), reducing the orbital period from about 53 days to 43 days. This flight established a close flight to Europe on September 29, 2022 (PJ45), reducing the orbital period to an additional 38 days. A pair of close Io flights, on December 30, 2023 (PJ57) and February 3, 2024 (PJ58), are combined to reduce the orbital period to 33 days.
More about the mission
JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for principal investigator Scott J. Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Borders program, which is operated by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s scientific mission directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built and operated the spacecraft.
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