Juno will also fly through Europe and Io tori – annular clouds of ions – on several occasions, characterizing the radiant environment near these satellites to better prepare the Europa Clipper and JUICE missions for optimizing observation strategies and planning, science priorities and mission design. The extended mission also adds planetary geology and ring dynamics to Juno’s comprehensive list of scientific studies.
An evolving path
The natural evolution of Juno’s orbit around the gas giant offers a wealth of new scientific possibilities that the expanded mission takes advantage of. Each science session sends the solar-powered spacecraft that zooms low over Jupiter’s cloud peaks, collecting data from a unique vantage point that no other spacecraft has had.
The point below each orbit where Juno comes closest to the planet is called the perijove (or PJ). During the mission, Juno̵
“The mission designers have done a fantastic job of developing an expanded mission that saves the mission’s most valuable resource on board – fuel,” said Ed Hirst, Juno Project Manager at JPL. “Gravity assistants from several satellite aircraft cities steer our spacecraft through the Jovian system while providing a wealth of scientific possibilities.” Satellite flybys also reduce Juno’s orbits, increasing the total number of scientific orbits that can be achieved. ”
The satellite meetings begin with a low altitude flight from Ganymede on June 7, 2021 (PJ34), reducing the orbital period from approx. 53 days to 43 days. This flyby creates a close flyby of Europe on 29 September 2022 (PJ45), further reducing the orbital period to 38 days. A pair of close Io flight towns on December 30, 2023 (PJ57) and February 3, 2024 (PJ58) are combined to reduce the cycle period to 33 days.
More about the mission
JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, administers the Juno mission to primary investigator Scott J. Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, administered at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the Agency’s Directorate of Science Mission in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built and operates the spacecraft.
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