Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Jupiter-bound craft back on track

Scientists said Juno is on target to slip into orbit around Jupiter

Nasa's Jupiter-bound spacecraft that looped around Earth to catapult to the outer solar system is operating normally again, scientists have said.

The Southwest Research Institute, which leads the mission's science operations, said that Juno is out of "safe mode".

That is a state a spacecraft is programmed to go into when it senses something is wrong.

Juno hit a snag earlier this week after it flew past Earth to increase its speed to barrel beyond the asteroid belt to Jupiter.

Despite the problem, scientists said Juno is on target to slip into orbit around Jupiter. It is expected to arrive in 2016.

Juno was launched in 2011 and flew beyond the orbit of Earth's closest planetary neighbour, Mars, before looping back towards our home planet for a quick visit.

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