Mission controllers in charge of NASA’s unmanned Juno mission to Jupiter had deemed it an unqualified success when the complicated task of maneuvering the spacecraft into orbit about the planet was successfully executed five years after it launched at Cape Canaveral way back in 2011.
But exuberance quickly turned to frustration as the only images coming back appears to be Juno ‘selfies’. Scientists hoping to use the imagery to learn more about Earth’s big brother in the solar system say the situation appears to be hopeless.
“What are we supposed to do with these crappy images? You can barely see Jupiter behind Juno. The composition is hopeless, and the exposure is all wrong.”
Despite being sent repeat instructions to focus its vector magnetometer and ultraviolet spectrograph on Jupiter’s surface to help determine the planet’s composition, the self-obsessed spacecraft continues to transmit selfie after selfie back to Earth.
“All we can ascertain from these visible wavelength snapshots is that Juno has highly-buffed solar panels, which we already knew.”
Senior scientists who were present during the heyday of NASA’s unmanned Jovian missions of the 70s and early 80s say it’s just a sign of the times we are in now.
“You never saw Pioneer 10 or the Voyagers engaging in this kind of behavior. But that was a time when spacecraft were happy to quietly toil away knowing they were part of something bigger. Now it’s all about me me me.”