NASA's Juno Spacecraft might meet an end of it's journey to Jupiter as NASA calculates that it might crash into Europa
The Juno Spacecraft completed its five-year journey to reach Jupiter on July 4, 2016. It made its first journey around Jupiter this week, and researchers are excited about the science the spacecraft may reveal. NASA is concerned about the possibility that Juno may crash into Jupiter’s moon, Europa, before completing its mission.
Space Flight Now reported that researchers are eager to see the science as the Juno Spacecraft fine tuned its orbit around Jupiter this week. The change in orbit will allow the probe to dip under the planet’s radiation belts sometime in late August. All science instruments for Juno will be activated when it gathers its data.
Juno’s main engine wasn’t fired in order to make the orbit correction maneuver during the rocket burn. Currently, the Juno Spacecraft is completing its first egg-shaped elongated orbit around the planet. Two more orbit trim maneuvers are planned, and the probe will dive within 3,000 miles of Jupiter’s cloud tops.
The flight plans for Juno call for the spacecraft to complete 37 orbits of Jupiter, and Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said that initial findings of the August 27 flyby will be released around September 1. Juno’s instruments will be used to measure the high energy electrons around the planet, as well as the amount of water in the planet’s atmosphere.
As previously reported in TheInquisitr, Google celebrated the Juno Spacecraft reaching the planet with one of its famous doodles. Google has celebrated previous space missions made by NASA. In 2015, they celebrated the flyby of Pluto by the Horizon Spacecraft.
Science.MIC reported that NASA could be taking a huge risk as the Juno Spacecraft may crash into Europa. NASA is concerned that the probe could crash into Jupiter’s moon and destroy any chance of discovering if there is a possibility of life on the moon. Scientists have long believed that there may be a subsurface ocean that contains the right ingredients for creating life on Europa.
Curt Niebur, lead program scientist of NASA’s New Frontiers program, said it would be necessary to take precautions when flying close to the moon because a crash could cause contamination.
“We’re proceeding with an overabundance of caution, because Juno, the spacecraft, was not cleaned when it was launched from Earth, and what we’ve learned is that there are life forms or spores that could survive the rigors of that crossing through space, that could possibly even survive the radiation dose that the spacecraft will get.”
Techno Buffalo reported that the Juno Spacecraft snapped an amazing in orbit image of Jupiter. The scene was snapped by the Juno Cam, and according to Scott Bolton, survived the radiation without incident.
“This scene from Juno Cam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter’s extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter.”
The image taken by the Juno Spacecraft was taken at a distance of 2.7 million miles from Jupiter and shows the red spot, as well as the planet’s three moons. More high resolution shots of the planet will be taken on August 27 when the probe gets closer to Jupiter to take a closer look, Juno may get as close as 2,600 miles during one of the 37 orbits. NASA wants to learn more about the planet’s structure, as well as exploring the atmosphere and studying the magnetosphere.