NASA celebrates Juno’s 10 birthday by extending the life of its mission

The space probe by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Juno completed a decade of its launch on Thursday, 5 August. It was the year 2011 when the Juno mission was launched. After a journey of five years, the probe entered an elliptical polar orbit around the gas giant planet, Jupiter.

NASA had extended the Juno mission in June 2018 first till July 2021. However, in 2021, it was extended again by the agency till September 2025 so the space probe will likely be sending its observations for at least the coming four years.

Artist illustration of the Juno satellite with Jupiter in the background. image credit: NASA

Artist illustration of the Juno satellite with Jupiter in the background. image credit: NASA

Since 2016, the Juno probe has been sharing its observations of Jupiter. The first observation that Juno shared was that Jupiter’s stripes extend far out into the atmosphere of the planet, reported Space.com.

It was also able to detect the internal magnetic field of Jupiter which made it the only planet apart from Earth to have this field. Along with this, Juno also found that Jupiter’s auroras are different from those on Earth. The probe also gave scientists an inside view of the rings of the planet. Additionally, the publication further reports that Juno has also helped scientists in studying shallow lightning and mushball.

One of the many achievements of the space probe is that it flew 645 miles of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, making it the closest encounter by a spacecraft since 2000 when NASA’s Galileo approached Ganymede.

The probe that completed its 10th birthday on 5 August has also sent some remarkable pictures of Jupiter and the system around the planet. It shared pictures of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in 2017. It continues to share more discoveries and images with the NASA scientists who run it from Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.