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Jupiter as seen by the Juno spacecraft. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's InSight lander on Mars and the Juno orbiter at Jupiter have new leases on life.

Why it matters: The spacecraft are expected to continue gathering data about their respective planetary targets during their newly extended missions, allowing scientists to learn more about seismic activity on Mars and turn their attention to the moons of Jupiter.

Where it stands: Juno's mission has been extended to September 2025 or whenever its life ends with a crash into Jupiter's atmosphere.

  • InSight will continue its mission to study Mars' geology and seismic activity from the Martian surface through December 2022.

What's next: Both missions are expected to make good use of their extended time at Jupiter and Mars.

  • InSight's extra two years will see the spacecraft collect more data on marsquakes to help create a long-term dataset that scientists can refer to for years to come, according to NASA.
  • Juno will broaden the scope of its studies to observe Jupiter's rings and moons including flybys of Ganymede, Europa and Io.

The big picture: NASA often extends the missions of its satellites and spacecraft in space if they're functioning well and still beaming home useful data.

  • The Mars Opportunity rover, for example, landed on Mars in 2004 for a 90-day mission, but the little spacecraft managed to keep roaming the Red Planet for nearly 15 years, after being granted multiple extended missions.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 26, 2021 - Science

What to know about the Moon rock in Biden's Oval Office

The Moon rock now in the Oval Office. Photo: NASA

President Joe Biden hasn't revealed much about his space policy priorities yet, but space fans can take heart that space is on his mind, thanks to an Apollo Moon rock that now decorates the Oval Office.

Why it matters: The Moon rock — loaned to the White House by NASA — is on display "in symbolic recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments, and support for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach," according to a statement from NASA.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.