NASA's Juno Spacecraft Enters Safe Mode For Jupiter Flyby

Posted: Oct 20 2016, 7:29am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Enters Safe Mode for Jupiter Flyby
This artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno spacecraft making one of its close passes over Jupiter. Credits: NASA
  • Juno Spacecraft enters Safe Mode Status for the Sake of Jupiter Flyby
 

The Juno spacecraft has entered safe mode status for the sake of the Jupiter flyby.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered safe mode on October 18th. A software action monitor caused a reboot of the computer that was present on board the spacecraft.

The spacecraft began its work again and is now in a mode that marks it out to be fit as a fiddle. It is currently conducting flight software diagnostics. All the instruments are in off mode. The flyby data collection thus did not take place at all. 

At the time when safe mode was switched on, the spacecraft was 13 hours away from Jupiter. It was still quite some distance from the planet’s radiation belts and magnetic fields.

Currently, the spacecraft is in the best of conditions and steps towards recovery are being taken. Basically, the spacecraft automatically goes into safe mode if the external conditions are seen to be not up to par.

The safe mode in this case turned off a few instruments and components of the spacecraft just to be on the safe side. Also the spacecraft pointed towards the sun so that it could recharge its solar arrays. 

Also a pair of valves on the spacecraft are receiving the attention of the mission managers. A burn of the spacecraft engine was put off recently too. The next close flyby is scheduled for December 11th.

Uptil now, the flyby has shown that Jupiter’s magnetic fields and aurora are more powerful than they were expected to be. The Microwave Radiometer (MWR) also lent information regarding the planet’s swirling cloud deck.

With MWR data, it is almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer we get closer and closer to the core of the planet. 

The beautiful clouds and red patches seem to change as the layers of the atmosphere of Jupiter are unfolded. JunoCam shows this in all its manifold splendor.

This by the way is just a beginning as far as the total exploration of Jupiter is concerned. A lot of feedback regarding the JunoCam is being given by people back on earth.

The Juno spacecraft launched in 2011. Cape Canaveral, Florida was the venue of the launch. It arrived near Jupiter in July of 2016. It soared close to the surface to get a bird’s eye view of the big and beautiful planet. 

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