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JUNO MISSION

Juno aces eighth science pass of Jupiter

Data returned Tuesday, October 31, indicate that NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully completed its eighth science flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on Tuesday, October 24

Data returned Tuesday, Oct. 31, indicate that NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully completed its eighth science flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The confirmation was delayed by several days due to solar conjunction at Jupiter, which affected communications during the days prior to and after the flyby.


Solar conjunction is the period when the path of communication between Earth and Jupiter comes into close proximity with the Sun. During solar conjunction, no attempts are made to send new instructions or receive information from Juno, as it is impossible to predict what information might be corrupted due to interference from charged particles from the Sun. Instead, a transmission moratorium is put into place; engineers send instructions prior to the start of solar conjunction and store data on board for transmission back to Earth following the event.


“All the science collected during the flyby was carried in Juno’s memory until yesterday, when Jupiter came out of solar conjunction,” said the new Juno project manager, Ed Hirst, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “All science instruments and the spacecraft's JunoCam were operating, and the new data are now being transmitted to Earth and being delivered into the hands of our science team.”


Juno's next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on Dec. 16. Italian participation is based on its now established experience in the field of spectrometry, optical cameras and radio science.  In particular, Italy will supply two instruments: the infrared image spectrometer JIRAM (Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper, PI Angioletta Coradini INAF-IFSI, realized by Selex-Galileo Avionica) and the radio science instrument KaT (Ka-Band Translator, PI Luciano Iess of the Università 'La Sapienza' of Rome, realized by Thales Alenia Space-I) which makes up the Ka band portion of the gravity experiment.