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NASA expands exploration of two planetary science missions




The missions-Juno and InSight-each increased our understanding of the solar system and inspired a series of new and diverse questions.


As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars, the agency’s efforts to find answers about our solar system and other aspects continue to inform these efforts and generate new discoveries. After an external review of their scientific productivity, the agency expanded the mission of the two spacecraft.

The missions-Juno and InSight-each increased our understanding of the solar system and inspired a series of new and diverse questions.

An independent review team of experts with backgrounds in science, operations, and mission management found that the Juno and InSight missions “produced outstanding science” and recommended that NASA continue to perform these two missions.

The Juno spacecraft and its mission team have discovered Jupiter̵

7;s internal structure, magnetic field and magnetosphere, and discovered that its atmospheric dynamics are much more complicated than scientists previously thought. The mission will last until September 2025, or end of life (whichever comes first). Not only will key observations of Jupiter continue, but also larger Jupiter systems such as Jupiter’s rings and large moons will be further studied. , And conduct targeted observations and close observations over the planned satellites Ganymede, Europa and Io.

InSight’s mission period was extended by two years, which will last until December 2022. InSight’s spacecraft and team deployed and operated highly sensitive seismometers to expand our understanding of the Martian crust and mantle. By searching and identifying “earthquakes”, the mission team collected data that clearly demonstrated the strong tectonic activity of the “red planet” and enhanced our understanding of the earth’s atmospheric dynamics, magnetic field, and internal structure. InSight’s expanded mission will focus on generating long-term, high-quality seismic data sets. Continuing to use the weather station’s instrument operations and using the spacecraft’s instrument deployment arm (IDA) to bury the seismic tether will help improve the quality of this seismic data set. The expanded mission may continue (low priority) to deploy the spacecraft’s thermal probe and physical properties instrument (HP3), which is still close to the ground.

Lori Graz, director of the Planetary Science Department at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said: “The advanced review has confirmed that these two planetary science missions may continue to bring new discoveries and new problems to our solar system.” “I thank you. The senior review team members’ comprehensive analysis and thanks to the mission team, they will continue to provide exciting opportunities to deepen our understanding of the dynamics of Jupiter and Mars.”

Expansion missions took advantage of NASA’s huge investment, making the cost of continuing scientific operations far lower than the cost of developing new missions. In some cases, extensions allow missions to continue to obtain valuable long-term data sets, while in other cases they can allow missions to access new targets with new scientific goals.

NASA’s Department of Planetary Sciences currently operates more than a dozen spacecraft throughout the solar system.

The detailed report of the 2020 Advanced Review of Planetary Sciences can be found at:

https://www.lpi.usra.edu/NASA-academies-resources/

For more information about Juno, please visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/juno

For more information about InSight, please visit:

https://mars.nasa.gov/insight

Press contact

Grey Tombstone / Alana Johnson
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0668 / 202-358-1501
grey.hautaluoma-1@nasa.gov / alana.r.johnson@nasa.gov

2021-003


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