NASA announced in a statement that during a flyby of Jupiter on January 22, JunoCam didn’t capture all the photographs, as it always does. According to NASA, the camera had a problem similar to the one that occurred on the spacecraft’s previous close flyby of Jupiter last month, when the scientists noticed an unusual temperature rise after the camera was turned on in order to prepare for the flyby.
90 pictures were taken on the earlier flyby, but only the first four were of good quality. On the most recent flyby, the problem grew worse, lasting for 23 hours and rendering 214 photos useless. The camera gradually recovered and managed to take 44 decent pictures, just like before.
JunoCam, a visible-light, the colour camera was created to take photographs of Jupiter’s cloud tops. It was particularly put on the spaceship to encourage public participation, but it has also shown to be crucial for scientific research. The camera has endured much longer than the minimum seven orbits that it was initially intended to function in Jupiter’s high-energy particle environment. The camera has acquired stunning close-ups of several of Jupiter’s numerous moons and shown the intricate details of the turbulent cloud patterns on Jupiter.
On March 1, Juno will make its following flyby by Jupiter. On its far-off space missions, NASA has a solid history of fixing bugs. We can only hope that JunoCam fully recovers and keeps thrilling space enthusiasts with its distinctive view of Jupiter.
The mission team is analyzing engineering data from JunoCam that was collected during the two most recent flybys, the 47th and 48th of the mission, and is looking into the origin of the anomaly and potential mitigating measures. For the time being, JunoCam will continue to operate normally while still being powered on.