Notice: I deeply apologize if I'm missing a Logical Issue to this Plan.

Instead of ending Juno's mission in 2018 by deorbiting it into Jupiter why not follow these steps.

  1. Allow the amount of time the Scientists for Juno want to spend studying Jupiter be used. (Until Feb 2018)

  2. Around February 1st Juno departs from Jupiter towards the predicted location of mars at arrival time. enter image description here

  3. Juno enters mars orbit.

How Juno is already prepared for such a mission:

  1. The area of Juno's solar arrays will be able to easily power itself, its solar arrays are much larger than any mission before.

    2: Mars is much closer to the Sun then Jupiter is so Juno will get a giant increase in power, 8x more.

Benefits that will come from such a mission:

  1. Nasa raises interest to the General Public and proves that they are ready to get moving on the mission to Mars.

    2.Juno could be used as an additional communications relay satellite for Opportunity and Curiosity along with future missions.

  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh at first glance it appears so, but I'll have to check into it a little more. twitter.com/nasajuno/status/314121158310113281 $\endgroup$ – Aaron M Nov 24 '16 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ I moved my comment to an answer - I'll stay tuned to see how this evolves, thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 24 '16 at 1:55

Considering Juno is at the destination of it's planned journey (i.e. Jupiter orbit), it's reasonable to expect that much to most of its propellant have been used already. There are still more, substantial maneuvers planned before 2018 - at least the lowering to a shorter period orbit to partially mitigate radiation damage may still be performed.

Considering that it was assisted by the 2nd burn of the Centaur 2nd stage to get much of it's velocity (and also an Earth flyby) it may not have enough propellant (delta-v) - nor (possibly) a suitable engine - to:

  • Get out of Jupiter's strong gravity
  • Lose enough orbital speed to fall all the way back to Mars' orbit
  • Lose more orbital speed to match Mars and then orbit it.

Because of things like conservation of energy and linear and angular momentum, you have to work just as hard to "undo" all of the things Juno had to do to get to to Jupiter in the first place.

It reminds me of the famous quote: Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great edit. I lost some noise. :) $\endgroup$ – Andrew Thompson Nov 24 '16 at 17:29

NASA has spent a lot of money building Juno and getting it to Jupiter in the first place. The spacecraft has been built to survive in the harsh locale, and has sensors and instruments specifically designed and built to study aspects of Jupiter in ways that weren't possible in previous missions. Even if it is possible to get Juno to Mars (doubtful, probably not enough fuel), it would not be able to do much science because it's designed to study a totally different planet.

Sending Juno to Mars would not raise positive awareness, in fact probably the opposite. NASA already has 2 functioning rovers on the surface of Mars and there are numerous probes in orbit, so Mars exploration is very much in the public eye. See here for a list of current NASA Mars missions. If NASA were to divert Juno to Mars people would question their Judgement.


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