Problems with the Juno probe. Stuck in the wrong orbit

Problems with the Juno probe. Stuck in the wrong orbit

The Juno probe has been in orbit of Jupiter since July 2016. According to the original plan, after twoóchr laps on the current 53-day orbit, it was to be maneuvered to tighten it and the probe was to be in a 14-day orbit. However, NASA engineers decided not to take this risky maneuver.

All because of a glitch thatórą was noticed last October. During preparations for the orbit shortening maneuver, two helium valves in the main engine failed to workównym of the probe. Previously, the opening of the valveów took a few seconds. In October, the operation took several minutes.

NASA specs debated the solution to this problem for a long time, but in the end decided to do nothing. Próba to initiate an orbit-shortening maneuver could fail and Juno could end up in an even worse orbit. The current one at least guarantees the execution of all the tests and measurements assumed by NASAów.

Juno, during each orbit, approaches the apex of theóIn Jupiter’s clouds at a distance of 4100 kilometersów. So far it has made four laps of the gas giant.

Jupiter's south pole

Jupiter’s south pole. Photo taken on February 2 by JunoCam from a distance of 101,000 kilometersów. Photo. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

– Juno is working properly and all of the probe’s instruments are in working order, and the data transmitted to Earth and are delightful- said Thomas Zurbuchen, deputy head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. – The decision we made to abandon the engine launch is the right one. Another engine firing could put the probe into a less favorable orbit. In this wayób we retain the assets, whichóre Juno continues to give us – added.

– There is another advantage of giving up shortening Juno’s orbit. The probe will spend less time in strong radiation belts. This is significant because strong radiation was one of the factorsóin limiting Juno’s operating time – wtór was reported by colleague Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute.

Juno mission

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Its mass is two and pół times the mass of all the other planets in our system. Jupiter has at least 67 moonsów. The planet is covered by several layers of clouds, whichóre arranged in characteristic belts visible from our planet. A day on Jupiter lasts about 10 hours. The most recognizable detail of Jupiter is the so-called. Great Red Spot, whichóra in reality is an anticyclone, and its diameter is larger than that of Earth’s.

Juno’s mission is not the first thatóra studies Jupiter. Previously, probes from the Pioneer program and Voyager had flown near the gas giant. The largest planet in the Solar System has also been studied by the Galileo probe and New Horizons, whichóthe target was Pluto. In the future, NASA plans to explore several moonsóIn Jupiter, including Europa, która underneath the ice cover has an ocean of water.