JUICE to Explore Jupiter's Icy Moons in 2030
Posted on May 20, 2012
The European Space Agency's (ESA) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) was selected to explore Jupiter's Galilean moons- volcanic Io, icy Europa and rock-ice Ganymede and Callisto. An artist's impression of JUICE is pictured above.
JUICE will be launched in 2022 from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane 5, arriving at Jupiter in 2030 to spend at least three years making detailed observations. JUICE will continuously observe Jupiter's atmosphere and magnetosphere, and the interaction of the Galilean moons with the gas giant planet.
It will visit Callisto, the most heavily cratered object in the Solar System, and will twice fly by Europa. JUICE will make the first measurements of the thickness of Europa's icy crust and will identify candidate sites for future in situ exploration. 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 Jupiterís magnetosphere in detail.