The US-based space agency NASA has extended the duration of two trailblazing planetary missions, which involve the Juno spacecraft and the Mars InSight Lander. The extension of these two missions has come after a review process. NASA’s planetary science division director, Lori Glaze has said that the senior review panel has confirmed that these two planetary space missions are going to come up with more discoveries in the future and unveil new mysteries about the solar system. Juno has been launched in 2011. It has been expected to end its journey by deorbiting into Jupiter in July 2021. Now this mission will continue to study the giant gas planet until September 2025 or until it reaches the end of its life. It depends on which comes first. Along with the extension of its tenure in space, the mission is going to study the rings of Jupiter and some of its largest moons.
With the extension of the Juno mission, scientists will be able to get more views and data from Jupiter. Particularly, they will be able to study close flybys of its moons Ganymede, Europa, and Io. They all are quite interesting; Icy Europa has specifically attracted scientists’ interest, as it might have been an ocean under the crust of the planet. NASA has been involved in the development of its Europa Clipper spacecraft (ECS) to study more. However, Juno will keep sending more details about it until the ECS mission takes off. Scientists have said that InSight’s primary mission has been set to survive for two Earth years, which acts a little more than one Mars year. The InSight Lander has reached Mars in late 2018. It has been sending data regarding marsquakes and the inner formation of the Red Planet since then.
The InSight Lander has been trying to tunnel a heat probe into the crust of the surface of the Red Planet but it has not been successful. The InSight Lander mission has been extended until 22 December 2022 by NASA. The team of scientists will focus on collecting seismic and weather data. They might work on their previously failed project of heat probe snag though it has been kept on low priority. Many space lovers are celebrating the extensions of these missions.