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Europe’s JUICE mission


Source: IE

Context: The European Space Agency’s JUICE spacecraft is to blast off on an eight-year journey through the Solar System


About the JUICE mission:

NameJUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer)
Launch DateApril 2023 (scheduled) on the Ariane 5 rocket for 8 years journey (arrival on Jupiter in 2031); lift off from French Guiana
GoalsStudy Jupiter and its three largest moons (Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa) to understand if their oceans could have ever been suitable habitats for life.
AgencyEuropean Space Agency (ESA) under its Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme
Instruments10 scientific instruments, including an optical camera, ice-penetrating radar, spectrometer, and magnetometer.
Importance of Jupiter’s moonFirst discovered by astronomer Galileo Galilei more than 400 years ago, Jupiter’s icy moons have huge oceans of liquid water — the main ingredient for life as we know it. That has made Ganymede and Europa prime candidates in the search for life.
GanymedeIt is the Solar System’s largest moon and the only one that has its own magnetic field, which protects it from radiation.
EuropaIt is believed that underneath Jupiter’s Europa’s icy surface, the amount of water is twice that on Earth. NASA is expected to launch its Europa Clipper in 2024 to gather data on Europa’s atmosphere, surface and interior.


SignificanceThe first time the ESA has sent a spacecraft beyond the asteroid belt.