NASA extended Juno’s tenure on Jupiter by 5 years. The spacecraft’s new five-year calendar includes some very interesting new missions.
Exciting news came this week from the Juno spacecraft that NASA placed in orbit of Jupiter in 2016. NASA, which has released an update on the latest status of the mission, announced that Juno’s term has been extended to 2025. The space agency also announced a surprising detail and said Juno will make close transits to Jupiter’s famous satellites Europa, Io and Ganymede in the coming period.
According to the statement made by Scott Bolton, the leader of the Juno mission, the spacecraft will perform close to Ganymede in the summer of 2021, then to Europa in late 2022 and finally to Io in 2024. It is stated that Juno will approach 1000 kilometers to the surface of Ganymede, 320 kilometers to the surface of Europa and 1500 kilometers to the surface of Io during these close passes.
Galilei moons of Jupiter
All three satellites in Juno’s target have very interesting features, but the highlight of the list is of course Europa. Europa is currently one of the most curious objects in the Solar System, with its huge oceans lying beneath its icy surface. Scientists say Europa may even have life in its oceans. One of NASA’s biggest plans at the moment is to send a space probe to Europa in 2024 (Europa Clipper).
Io, another of Jupiter’s four Galilei moons, stands out as the most volcanically active object in our Solar System. The Juno spacecraft will make two different close passes to Io in 2024. It is said that Juno will be able to study the awesome volcanoes in Io in detail.
Ganymede, which Juno will visit in the summer of 2021, stands out as the largest natural satellite of our Solar System (almost the size of Mars). Juno will view the satellite in detail, draw 3-D maps of the magnetosphere in his close passage in Ganymede, and examine the changes seen on its surface after Voyager missions.
These new missions of Juno, which has been in orbit of Jupiter for about 5 years, have managed to excite space enthusiasts. We are looking forward to the photos and scientific data that will come from the spacecraft in the coming years.