NOV 03, 2019 6:22 AM PST

Could the Successful Juno Mission See an Extension Beyond 2021?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The Juno mission, launched by NASA in 2011 to explore the fascinating Jovian system, finally arrived at its destination in 2016. Since then, the spacecraft has used its onboard JunoCam to capture drop-dead gorgeous photographs of Jupiter’s clouds, poles, and even the infamous Great Red Spot up close and in unprecedented detail.

Because Jupiter is so massive, its magnetic fields and gravitational influence are extraordinarily powerful when compared to the Earth’s. NASA knew that Juno would be venturing into one of the solar system’s harshest environments, and because of this, spacecraft engineers couldn’t equip Juno with just any telescope; they needed something significantly more durable.

Enter JunoCam, the stout little camera that snapped all those beautiful shots we’ve witnessed thus far of Jupiter’s atmosphere. JunoCam is nearly indestructible and can withstand the Jovian system much better than any traditional space telescope could. It can photograph Jupiter in RGB color and provide missions scientists with the data they need to better understand this alien planet.

Juno doesn’t spend a lot of time up close and personal with Jupiter. Its highly elliptical orbit paired with its constant rotation ensures stability as the spacecraft approaches the giant gassy planet. JunoCam is fast enough to capture detailed images of Jupiter as the spacecraft rotates and can capture vast images with just a single snap rather than stitching a mosaic of several images.

The Juno mission was originally poised to end sometime in 2021, but given just how well the spacecraft appears to be holding up, it’s entirely possible that the mission could see an extension as scientists continue to explore the Jovian system.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Discovery of Phosphine on Venus - What Does It Mean?
OCT 07, 2020
Discovery of Phosphine on Venus - What Does It Mean?
A Nature Astronomy paper in September, titled "Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus", has led t ...
OCT 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Some Astronauts Get Blurry Vision After Spaceflight
OCT 21, 2020
Why Some Astronauts Get Blurry Vision After Spaceflight
Researchers from the University of Antwerp in Belgium have found that the fluid surrounding the brain, known as craniosp ...
MAR 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Meteorite Parked in UK Driveway May Hold Clues to Planet Formation, Early Life
MAR 09, 2021
Meteorite Parked in UK Driveway May Hold Clues to Planet Formation, Early Life
Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx have spent years trying to intercept asteroids & collect samples. This meteor made it a little ...
MAR 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
MAR 24, 2021
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
It's thought that most carbon found in space is contained in big molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( ...
APR 11, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Celebrating the International Day of Human Space Flight
APR 11, 2021
Celebrating the International Day of Human Space Flight
Earth's first satellite, Sputnik I, was launched into orbit on October 4, 1957. A few years later, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagari ...
APR 21, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
New Pulsar Detected in Southern Hemisphere
APR 21, 2021
New Pulsar Detected in Southern Hemisphere
A new pulsar has been discovered with images from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope, a low-frequency radio t ...
Loading Comments...