Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer:
The European Space Agency has announced that the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) mission will be celebrated at an event in Toulouse, France, on 20 January next year.
- Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) will be Europe’s first dedicated robotic mission to Jupiter.
- Juice is due to reach the planet in July 2031 after performing an incredible flight path through the Solar System.
- The mission will enter into orbit around Jupiter and perform numerous flybys of its large icy moons: Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
- After four years of moon flybys, Juice will then enter into orbit around Ganymede, the largest moon in the Solar System — becoming the first spacecraft ever to reach orbit around the moon of another planet.
- The icy moons of Jupiter are interesting as they are all believed to host oceans of liquid water beneath their frozen surfaces.
- Europa, in particular, is regarded as one of the most likely abodes in the Solar System for extra-terrestrial life.
- Juice will be equipped with ten scientific instruments including ice-penetrating radar to study the internal oceans.
- This use of radar is a practical first step in mapping the sub-surface oceans, paving the way for more exotic future missions involving submersible vehicles some of which have already been put forward