For the second flyby in a row, one of the main cameras studying Jupiter has struggled to take the usual images.
of NASA Juno The spacecraft was launched in 2011 and arrived here. Jupiter In 2016; Since then, he has made nearly 50 flybys of our largest planet. solar system and caught precious glimpses of Jupiter’s large moons, each a strange world in its own right. But during the spacecraft’s latest flyby, on Jan. 22, the camera was able to capture only a fifth of the planned images.
Oh A similar problem occurred on the previous flyby., in December; Mission officials believe the camera malfunction is caused by the camera reaching abnormally high temperatures and are continuing to fix the problem, according to a Statement.
Related: New images from NASA’s Juno mission show Jupiter’s true colors.
Shortly after the Dec. 14 flyby, Juno encountered a memory problem that sent the spacecraft into safe mode, delaying data transfer. EarthAccording to one Statement On time. Juno returned smoothly and most of the data arrived safely on Earth, but the Juno cam struggled early in the flyby.
The camera was instructed to take 90 images during the December flyby, but the first four images turned out poorly. The mission team determined that when the Juno camera turned on, the temperature rose enough to interfere with photography and that the instrument had cooled by the end of these first four images.
But now, the problem seems to have recurred, this time for a longer period of time — 23 hours instead of 36 minutes, according to NASA. This time, the glitch left 214 images unusable, with only 44 decent images returning after the device cooled down enough.
“The mission team is reviewing JunoChem engineering data obtained during two recent flybys — the mission’s 47th and 48th — and investigating the root cause of the anomaly and a mitigation strategy,” NASA officials said. wrote “JunoCam will remain active for the time being and the camera will continue to operate in its nominal state.”
Juno’s next flyby will be on March 1.
Mission officials considered launching Juno without a camera on board, as the spacecraft’s science goals did not require such an instrument, but the agency decided to add one. Juno Chem As a public outreach project. A color camera captures images of Jupiter’s moving cloud tops, with the public suggesting where to aim and processing the collected images.
And JunoCam wasn’t guaranteed to last that long, according to NASA: It was designed to make only seven passes through the dangerous atmosphere around Jupiter.
Juno itself is continuing beyond its primary mission, which ended in July 2021. It is currently expected to continue till September 2025.
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