NASA has recently announced that the space agency's solar-powered spacecraft Juno has successfully completed its eighth science flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops.
Juno completed its eighth run around the planet on October 24; however, the confirmation was delayed by several days due to a solar conjunction at the largest planet in our solar system. This phenomenon had affected the communications bore and after the flyby, said NASA.
During the solar conjunction, the communication path between Earth and Jupiter comes within the close proximity of the Sun. Scientists do not make any attempt to send or receive new information during this phenomenon, as it becomes impossible to predict what information might get corrupted due to interference from charged particles from the Sun.
"All the science collected during the flyby was carried in Juno's memory until yesterday when Jupiter came out of solar conjunction. 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," said Juno project manager, Ed Hirst, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
As per the calculations by NASA, Juno's next close flyby of Jupiter is scheduled to occur on December 16.
"There is no more exciting place to be than in orbit around Jupiter and no team I would rather be with than the Juno team. Our spacecraft is in great shape, and the team is looking forward to many more flybys of the solar system's largest planet," said Hirst.
Solar-powered Juno spacecraft was launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and it arrived within the orbit of Jupiter on July 4, last year.
Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere during these flybys.