Europe’s mission to Jupiter’s icy moons ready for launch

by | Jan 20, 2023 | Science

Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer: The mission has been nearly two decades in the planningEurope is about to undertake one of its grandest ever space missions, to explore the icy moons of Jupiter.The Juice satellite is going through final testing in Toulouse, France, after which it will be shipped to the launch site in South America.It’s due to depart Earth in April.The six-tonne spacecraft will make a series of flybys of Callisto, Ganymede and Europa, using an advanced package of instruments to investigate whether any of these worlds are habitable.This might sound fanciful. The Jovian system is in the cold, outer reaches of the Solar System, far from the Sun and receiving just one twenty-fifth of the light falling on Earth.But the gravitational squeezing and pushing the giant planet gives its moons means they have the energy and warmth to retain vast quantities of liquid water at depth. And we know on Earth that wherever there is water, there’s an opening for life.”In the case of Europa, it’s thought there’s a deep ocean, maybe 100km deep, underneath its ice crust,” said mission scientist Prof Emma Bunce from Leicester University, UK.”That depth of ocean is 10 times that of the deepest ocean on Earth, and the ocean is in contact, we think, with a rocky floor. So that provides a scenario where there is mixing and some interesting chemistry,” the researcher told BBC News.It’s a 6.6 billion km journey lasting 8.5 y …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This