Final checks on the Juice satellite are being performed in Toulouse, France before it is delivered to the launch site in South America.
In April, it will take off from Earth.
The six-ton spacecraft will fly by Jupiter’s moons Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa in an effort to determine whether or not these planets are suitable for human habitation.
This may be construed as completely fantastical. The Jovian system is located far from the Sun, in the frigid outer limits of the Solar System, where it receives just a quarter as much sunlight as Earth.
However, the massive planet’s gravitational pull and push provide its moons with the power and warmth necessary to keep large quantities of liquid water deep. On Earth, scientists know that the presence of water signals the potential for life.
Professor Emma Bunce, quoted in the media: “The moons might represent a new ‘Goldilocks’ zone for life.”
According to Prof. Emma Bunce, a mission scientist from Leicester University in the United Kingdom, “in the case of Europa, it is assumed that there is a deep ocean, maybe 100km deep, underlying its ice shell.”
“That water is ten times deeper than the deepest ocean on Earth, and it appears to be touching a stony bottom. This creates a setting for interaction and potentially exciting chemical reactions, “The study’s author provided an exclusive interview with BBC News.
The trip takes 8.5 years and covers 6.6 billion kilometres.
Put July of 2031 on your calendar. About that time, Juice will have made it to Jupiter. After making 35 flybys of all three moons, it will eventually settle in orbit around Ganymede in late 2034.
This week, the Juice project team at the European Space Agency (ESA) had a key review and declared the mission “go for launch.”
Airbus, a European aerospace corporation, is responsible for leading the development of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, which cost a total of €1.6 billion (£1.4 billion; $1.7 billion).
For this production run, the manufacturer drew on the best minds and best materials from all around the continent.
The whole array of ten scientific pieces of equipment for Juice has been constructed and tested.
Engineer Cyril Cavel pointed to a cluster of black and silver boxes and said, “We have a lot of high-resolution cameras on this probe in all available wavelengths — in infrared, visible, and ultraviolet.”
“All these instruments are clearly visible via the see-through shields. Fantastic close-up images of the moons will be captured by the Janus high-resolution visible telescope during our 400km low-altitude flybys. Beautiful images might be expected, “The manager of the Airbus Juice project noted.
This is a map of Ganymede, the ice moon. An unseen ocean lies under the crust.
Instruments such as radar will examine the moons’ interiors, lidar (a laser measurement system) will create three-dimensional maps of their surfaces, magnetometers will track the moons’ complex electrical and magnetic environments, and sensors will collect samples of the particles that zip past them.
The purpose of Juice’s search is not to identify individual “biomarkers” or find alien species in the ocean depths. Its purpose is to gather information on the planet’s potential habitability so that subsequent missions may dive further into the issue. Landers have long been considered for one of Jupiter’s frozen moons in order to bore through the surface and reach the subsurface water.
The Ganymede Trivia Deck
Someday, maybe in the second part of this century, it might actually happen.
Working at the Solar System’s reaches requires a lot of patience. Although the distance between Earth and Jupiter is “just” 600 million kilometres, going there directly would need a magnificent rocket. The European Union’s Ariane 5 rocket, while strong, is not nearly as robust.
Instead, it will utilise Venus and Earth’s gravity to slingshot Juice out to the gas giant.
Without shielding, its electrical components would quickly deteriorate in the intense radiation seen orbiting Jupiter. The exterior of the satellite will experience a temperature range of 250 degrees Celsius to minus 230 degrees Celsius as it makes it’s way inward to Venus and then out to the gas giant.
According to thermal architect Séverine Deschamps, “we have two enormous vaults within the spaceship to protect the computers from radiation and to maintain them through a network of pipes at the same level of temperature.”
“It’s the same with the engine that powers the ship. In order to maintain a high level of performance during firing, its temperature needs to be kept at roughly 20 degrees Celsius.”
Juice’s commercial operations. Because most of its tools are located on a single panel, Juice will not be working alone.
NASA is launching its own spacecraft into orbit, and it’s called Clipper.
Despite leaving Earth after Juice, it is expected to arrive in Europe just ahead of its sister. The planet of Europa will be the main focus.
The two satellites will be far more effective as a unit.
“You gain a lot deeper insight having the two there together,” said Prof. Michelle Dougherty, the main investigator on Juice’s magnetometer device.
“An exciting possibility is that Clipper may observe a plume emanating from Europa as it passes by the moon. While Clipper does the up-close observations, Juice will keep an eye on Jupiter and Europa to see whether the auroral lights on Jupiter become more spotted.”