Current Affairs 2023
The European Space Agency's JUICE spacecraft is preparing for its April 14th launch to study Jupiter's moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto in search of subsurface oceans and potential for harboring life. The mission will use 10 cutting-edge science payloads and will reach Jupiter in 2031. The focus of the study will be the internal subsurface oceans, magnetic fields, and tidal interactions.
Jan 29, 2023
2 min read
The European Space Agency's (ESA) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission to study three of Jupiter's icy moons is ready for liftoff. JUICE will explore Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto to uncover their composition, evolution, and the potential for subsurface oceans to harbor life. The 13,670-pound spacecraft has undergone final testing at Airbus facilities in Toulouse and is set to embark on its journey to the Guiana Space Center for launch on April 14th.
JUICE's journey to Jupiter will take eight years and once it arrives, it will perform flybys of the Galilean moons before entering orbit around Ganymede in 2034. The spacecraft will use its 10 cutting-edge science payloads to study the moons' magnetic fields and tidal interactions with the Jupiter system to determine the presence of subsurface oceans. JUICE's large solar arrays, covering 915 square feet, will provide power for the spacecraft during its orbit around Jupiter, 484 million miles away from the sun.
The mission will culminate with JUICE impacting the surface of Ganymede when it runs out of fuel to maintain its orbit. The project was selected by ESA in 2012 and involved collaboration with over 80 companies across Europe to get the spacecraft ready for launch.
While JUICE will only fly past Europa twice, NASA's Europa Clipper mission, set to launch in 2024, will execute dozens of flybys around 2030. Both missions aim to further our understanding of the icy moons, and JUICE's findings could lead to future missions to these scientifically fascinating celestial bodies.
Based on inputs from space.com. Image: NASA
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