Europe's Juice mission all set to explore three planet-sized moons of Jupiter

Devdiscourse News Desk | Toulouse | Updated: 21-01-2023 15:01 IST | Created: 21-01-2023 15:01 IST
Europe's Juice mission all set to explore three planet-sized moons of Jupiter
Image Credit: Twitter (@NASAGoddard)

Juice, the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, is the next ambitious venture of humanity into the outer Solar System. It will conduct thorough examinations of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and its three moons with oceans - Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.

The spacecraft has just completed its final tests before departing Toulouse, France, for Europe's Spaceport to count down to an April 2023 launch. In December, the spacecraft underwent a thermal vacuum test to ensure it could withstand the extreme temperatures of space. Last week, a System Validation Test was conducted, connecting the spacecraft in Toulouse to mission control at ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany, to simulate the first activities after launch. On 18 January, the Qualification and Acceptance Review was concluded, confirming the spacecraft was ready to go ahead with launch preparations at the Spaceport.

A plaque was affixed to the spacecraft in honour of Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer who was the first to observe Jupiter and its four largest moons with a telescope in January 1610, as the final step in the preparations. The plaque was unveiled at Airbus Toulouse on 20 January and it displays images of Galileo Galilei's initial observations of Jupiter and its moons from a copy of the Sidereus Nuncius hosted in the library of the Astronomical and Copernican Museum, at the headquarters of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Rome, Italy.

Following this event, the spacecraft will depart for the launch site.

"With Juice's departure for the launch site fast approaching, we remember its long Earthly journey through various Airbus sites in Europe towards final integration and more than 500 Airbus employees who prepared the spacecraft for its eight-year cruise," says Cyril Cavel, Juice Project Manager at Airbus Defence and Space.

Juice will be launched from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou on an Ariane 5 rocket in April 2023. It will then embark on an eight-year journey, which includes flybys of Earth and Venus to gain momentum for its trip to Jupiter. Once it reaches the gas giant, it will make 35 flybys of its three largest moons before shifting its orbit to Ganymede.


Give Feedback