Nasa's Juno Spacecraft Loses Computer Before Close Encounter With Jupiter

Nasa's Juno Spacecraft Loses Computer Before Close Encounter With Jupiter

Nasa's Juno spacecraft lost its main computer and science instruments shortly before it was due to make an orbital pass near Jupiter on Wednesday, scuttling highly anticipated close-up observations of the largest planet in the solar system.

The US space agency said the glitch followed an unrelated problem last week that prompted it to skip firing Juno's braking engine, to steer the probe into a tighter regular orbit around Jupiter.

Juno's computer restarted after Wednesday's shutdown and the spacecraft was "healthy," Nasa said in a statement.

Juno reached Jupiter in July for a 20-month study to learn how and where the giant, gas planet formed, setting the stage for the evolution and development of Earth and the rest of the planets in the solar system.

During Wednesday's flyby, scientists had planned to begin using Juno's instruments to peer beneath Jupiter's thick clouds and map its gargantuan magnetic fields. But the loss of the ship's main computer, 13 hours before the close encounter, put the observation plans on hold until at least Dec. 11, when the spacecraft makes its next close pass by Jupiter, Nasa said.

The cause of the computer outage is under investigation. Nasa also is analysing the unrelated propulsion system issue.

Nasa had hoped to shift Juno into a tighter orbit around Jupiter so it could fly close more often. Those plans are now on hold.

Lead scientist Scott Bolton, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, said the mission goals are not impacted by Juno's orbit, since critical measurements are taken whenever the spacecraft flies close to Jupiter.

"The worst-case scenario is I have to be patient and get the science slowly," he told reporters during a webcast news conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Pasadena, California.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on X, Facebook, WhatsApp, Threads and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you want to know everything about top influencers, follow our in-house Who'sThat360 on Instagram and YouTube.

Further reading: Jupiter, Juno, Nasa, Science
Scientists Create Detailed Map of the Milky Way
Share on Facebook Gadgets360 Twitter Share Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment google-newsGoogle News


Follow Us
© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Trending Products »
Latest Tech News »