Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer is Europe’s first mission to Planet Jupiter and its icy moons. JUICE stands for Jupiter Icy moons Explorer. To be launched in 2022.
Planet Jupiter and its icy moons will be the destination of space probe mission by the European Space Agency (ESA). JUICE is the first Large-class mission chosen as part of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme.
JUICE mission will be launched on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana in 2022 and arriving at Planet Jupiter in 2030 to spend at least three years making detailed observations.
The aim of the mission is to:
- To study Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – all thought to host internal oceans and as potential habitats for life.
- To address two key themes of Cosmic Vision: what are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life, and how does the Solar System work?
- JUICE will continuously observe Planet Jupiter’s atmosphere and magnetosphere, and the interaction of the Galilean moons with the gas giant planet.
- JUICE will enhance our knowledge of how gas giants and their orbiting worlds form and their potential for hosting life.
JUICE will make the first measurements of the thickness of Europa’s icy crust and will identify candidate sites for future in situ exploration. JUICE will visit Callisto, the most heavily cratered object in the Solar System and will twice fly by Europa.
The spacecraft will finally enter orbit around Ganymede in 2032 where it will study the icy surface and internal structure of the moon, including its subsurface ocean.
Ganymede is the only moon in the Solar System known to generate its own magnetic field and JUICE will observe the unique magnetic and plasma interactions with Jupiter’s magnetosphere in detail.
The process started in 2004 when ESA consulted the wider scientific community to set Europe’s goals for space exploration in the coming decade.
The resulting Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme identified four scientific aims. What are the conditions for life and planetary formation? How does the Solar System work? What are the fundamental laws of the Universe? How did the Universe begin and what is it made of?
In 2007, a ’Call for Missions’ was issued around these aims and resulted in a number of L-class missions being considered.
Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer – JUICE was selected over two other candidates: the New Gravitational Wave Observatory (NGO) – to hunt for gravitational waves and ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics).
ESA announced on 2 May 2012 that Europe’s next large science mission will focus on Jupiter’s icy moons.
No detail yet.
Did you know?
* The last mission to Jupiter was USA’s Juno.
* Planet Jupiter’s diverse Galilean moons volcanic Io, icy Europa and rock-ice Ganymede and Callisto make the jovian system a miniature Solar System in its own right.
JUICE Links Links:
JUICE is Europe’s next large science mission: ESA Portal. Also Picture source (2 May 2012).