NASA has extended its two missions to explore Mars (InSight) and Jupiter (Juno). This will allow scientists to save money and make new discoveries.
The missions of the two spacecraft were extended after external inspection of their scientific performance. An independent panel of experts with experience in operations, science, and flight control concluded that the Juno and InSight missions produced exceptional scientific results and recommended that NASA extend both of them.
The Juno spacecraft and its mission made discoveries about Jupiter's internal structure, magnetosphere, and magnetic field, as well as found that its atmospheric dynamics are much more complicated than scientists previously thought.
The mission should now be extended until September 2025 or until the end of the vehicle's life (whichever comes first). The mission will not only continue key observations of Jupiter, but will also expand its exploration to the planet's rings and their larger moons such as Ganymede, Europa, and Io.
The InSight mission was extended until December 2022. The spacecraft and the InSight team deployed and used their highly sensitive seismometer to expand human understanding of the crust and mantle of Mars. Scientists have already managed to confirm the Red Planet's active tectonic activity and expand our knowledge of the dynamics of the atmosphere, magnetic field, and internal structure of the planet. InSight's expanded mission will focus on generating long-term, high-quality seismic data.
NASA also noted that extended missions will help save money, since they will not have to develop new missions for these planets.