Juno spacecraft will stay in its 53-day orbit of Jupiter: NASA
U.S. space agency NASA's Juno spacecraft will remain in its current 53-day orbit of Jupiter for the remainder of its mission, project managers announced.
Made in response to certain technical difficulties with the spacecraft's main engine, NASA's decision is a setback for Juno, which was expected to shift to a shorter, 14-day orbit schedule.
The decision means the spacecraft will make just 12 orbits of the giant gas giant, significantly down from the originally planned 32 orbits.
This is not the first time that the Juno spacecraft has run into technical issues. In October last year, NASA scientists delayed its orbit around the planet because a pair of helium check valves was not working properly.
Juno entered the orbit of Jupiter in 2016, after completing a five-year journey, to probe mysteries surrounding the solar system's biggest planet, such as the conduct of its powerful magnetosphere and composition of its core.
The answers to the mysteries will likely provide scientists with new insight into the composition as well as evolution of the early solar system. Once Juno's mission is over, it will be de-orbited, allowing it to burn up in the planet's atmosphere to avoid any potential contamination of its Jovian moons.
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