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ESA Juice Ready to Launch to Jupiter | space

Illustration of the spaceship Juice on Jupiter. Image: ESA

SPACE — The European Space Agency’s (ESA) mission to explore Jupiter and its largest moons has arrived at the European Space Port in French Guiana, where preparations are final for launch in April. The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) spacecraft, arrived on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at Felix Eboue airport in Cayenne on special flight Antonov Airlines An-124.

Juice was brought in from Toulouse, France, where the device’s prime contractor, Airbus built for nearly a decade, from concept, design, testing, and construction. Currently, the spacecraft will undergo final testing and inspection by scientists from ESA and Airbus before being refueled and mounted on the Ariane 5 rocket.

The launch, scheduled for April 13, will kick off an eight-year journey to Jupiter. Packing 10 instruments, Juice’s mission is to study the numerous icy moons orbiting the gas giant. He will focus on the large moon containing the oceans. His goals include studying how such worlds could harbor life and studying the Jupiter system as a model for the complex environments around gas giant planets throughout the Universe.

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Jupiter is five times farther from the Sun than our Earth. So, getting there is a huge challenge. Following launch, a series of gravity-assisted cross-Earth and Venus flights will give Juice the speed and direction needed to break beyond the asteroid belt and reach the Solar System’s largest planet. Read: Slide Saturn, Jupiter now owns the most moons in the solar system

Following his arrival at Jupiter in 2031, Juice will be guided in through 35 more flybys of the gas giant’s moons, Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede, as his primary destination. This mission will end with a lengthy research on Ganymede. In 2034, Juice will be the first spacecraft to orbit the moon of a planet other than Earth.

Flying such a complicated course over such a long distance would be an extreme test of navigational techniques. Moreover, Juice is obliged to bring home the data it has collected. Mission controllers at ESA’s European Space Operations Control Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany will rely on the Estrack network of space antennas in Spain, Argentina and Australia.

The launch of Juice will also end ESA’s long tradition of science missions starting aboard the Ariane 5 rocket, including the Rosetta and Bepi Colombo. Most recently, Ariane 5 sent the James Webb space telescope into space for NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on December 25, 2021.

Yet, for such a titanic effort, the scientific promise of the Juice mission is compelling. Scientists believe that Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede hold vast amounts of water buried beneath their surfaces in much larger volumes than in Earth’s oceans. These planet-sized moons offer tantalizing clues that conditions for life could exist beyond our beautiful planet Earth. Maybe, in a world orbiting a giant planet, it’s not that smoldering stuff.

Jupiter and its large moons represent archetypes of gas giant planetary systems throughout the Universe. As such, it is the most attractive destination in our Solar System.

ESA and Juice look at the momentum of humanity’s fascination throughout history on a planet named after the God of the Gods in ancient Rome. Large in the night sky, Jupiter was naturally the target of one of the first telescope-assisted stargazers, Galileo. His observations, from 1610, found Io, Europa, Callista, and Ganymede, and showed them moving relative to Jupiter from night to night. It demonstrates the controversial idea that Earth is not the only center of motion in the Universe. It was known at that time, the Earth was still believed to be the center of the universe. To mark this important moment that opened up knowledge about the cosmos, Juice brought along a plaque celebrating Galileo’s work. Source: ESA

Also read:

– Hot Jupiter, Planet with Metallic Clouds and Raining Gems

– Rows of the Largest Objects in the Solar System Besides Jupiter

– Associated with the Turkey Earthquake, US HAARP will Laser Planet Jupiter

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