By Bryce Getchell | @porkfryedbryce
NASA’s Juno probe was only 13 hours away from its closest flyby of Jupiter yet when unexpectedly entering into “Safe Mode”. Far from the magnetic fields and radiation belts that surround Jupiter, it is unclear on what caused the spacecraft to reset. However, during the AAS briefing on the situation, Juno’s mission’s leader Scott Bolton, had this to say,
“It detected a condition that was not expected … and it did exactly what it was supposed to do.”
Safe mode is an invaluable tool used to troubleshoot problems that arise in computers. While this reset will postpone Juno’s next flyby until December 11th, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The Juno probe is a $1.1 billion dollar piece of equipment and is 600 million miles away from Earth. This means that any sort of problem that is not dealt with could jeopardize the entire mission. By sensing something wasn’t quite right, Juno took the precautions it needed to assess and solve its current problem.
Bolton spoke more on Juno’s act of self-preservation, explaining that Juno followed its programmed instructions, powering down its cameras and nonessential instruments, rotating towards the Sun, and awaiting further instructions.
According to NASA’s Press Release that followed the incident, Juno is up and running once more. Here on Earth, scientists and engineers are working around the clock to bring Juno back up to full functionality.
For now, we can rest easy and eagerly await until Juno’s next flyby, scheduled on December 11th of this year. For more information and status of the Space Probe, check out Juno’s Mission.