Are we witnessing the slow blinding of the Juno spacecraft? NASA is having trouble receiving images from the spacecraft’s solar-powered JunoCam. As a result, of the 258 images recently obtained by NASA, only 44 were usable. NASA is still investigating this issue and hopes to come up with a way to mitigate it.
Launched in August 2011, Juno has been a reliable workhorse studying the secrets of Jupiter while also capturing amazing images of the planet and its 80+ moons since it entered into Jovian orbit on July 4, 2016. Its extended mission was supposed to last until September 2025, harvesting additional data to assist NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission as well as the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission.
While Juno has numerous scientific instruments that are still plugging away producing key data on Jupiter and its surroundings, the images were an important link between the mission and the public. The images shown below are just a small sample of what has been sent back (click here for more). It will be a sad day when we can no longer see the Jovian neighborhood in this way.