NASA’s Juno probe continues to reclaim its memory from Jupiter after a data disruption disrupted communications between the spacecraft and its operators on Earth following a December flyby of the giant planet.
The last flyby of Jupiter by the Juno spacecraft, its 47th close pass of the planet, was completed on December 14. But as its operators at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory received scientific data from the flyby, they discovered they could no longer directly access the spacecraft’s memory. .
The team managed to restart Juno’s computer and on December 17, they placed the spacecraft in “safe mode”, with only essential systems running as a precaution. From a NASA update from December 22 (opens in a new tab), the steps taken by the team to recover the scientific data from Juno went positively. Juno operators are now successfully transferring hover data.
“Scientific data from the last flyby of Jupiter and its moon Io by the solar-powered spacecraft appear to be intact,” NASA wrote in the update.
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The outage is currently believed to have been caused when Juno flew through intense radiation from part of Jupiter’s magnetosphere. There is no evidence that the radiation spike damaged any data from its close approach to Jupiter or its flyby. Jupiter volcanic moon Io.
The remaining data from Juno’s last flyby is expected to return to Earth in the coming days, at which time operators can assess whether it was affected by the disruption.
Juno left Earth in August 2011, traveling 1.7 million kilometers and entering orbit around the gas giant planet 5 years later on July 4, 2016. Becoming the first spacecraft to see through dense clouds of Jupiter, Juno’s goal was to answer questions about the composition and origins of Jupiter. .
Related: NASA’s Juno spacecraft captures its most detailed view of icy moon Europa
Juno takes 53 Earth days to orbit Jupiter, with its primary Juno mission calling for 35 orbits, during which it collected 3 terabits of science data and incredible images of Jupiter and its moons. Because Jupiter is considered the world’s oldest solar system, learning more about it could reveal information about the formation of the solar system itself.
These data changed many planetary scientists’ ideas about Jupiter’s atmosphere and interior by revealing an atmospheric weather layer extending far beyond its water clouds as well as a deep interior with a core of diluted heavy elements.
The spacecraft’s primary mission ended in July and the spacecraft is expected to continue extended science operations until at least 2025 according to planetary society (opens in a new tab).
The spacecraft was scheduled to exit safe mode this week and will make its next flyby of Jupiter on January 22, 2023.
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