1.4 The JUICE mission to Jupiter
In this video, John Zarnecki discusses the advances in space instrumentation over the past few decades. Increased sensitivity, low size and low mass are key improvements.
The JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission is intended to be launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2022. If the launch is successful, the spacecraft will arrive in the neighbourhood of Jupiter in 2030. It will initially focus on Europa and Callisto and finally it will orbit Ganymede for several months to obtain detailed images of the surface from an altitude of just 200 km.
Callisto, Europa and Ganymede are all suspected of having oceans below an icy surface, so ice-penetrating radar will be used, giving an indication of the character of the subsurface environment and whether liquid water really lies beneath. The scientific emphasis of the mission will be on trying to understand the habitability of each of these moons and the possibility of it hosting microbial life. Being so far away from the Sun is an irrelevance, given that tidal forces from Jupiter could provide the energy to melt the ice under the surface.
JUICE will contain a suite of instruments including optical cameras, spectrometers, sub-millimetre wave instruments, laser altimeters and radar. Countries from around Europe will supply different parts according to funding and expertise.
Work at the e2v centre for electronic imaging (CEI), based at the Open University campus in Milton Keynes is being done in preparation for the JANUS optical camera system. JANUS is designed to study global, regional and local morphology and processes on the moons and perform mapping of the clouds on Jupiter. The imaging detectors being used will need to withstand long-duration radiation damage from the space environment, particularly from charged particles concentrated by Jupiter’s magnetic field (which is one reason why JUICE will not spend any time close to Io, the innermost Galilean moon).
You can discover more information about the.
JUICE passed its ESA review and was approved for implementation in November 2014.
In early 2014 NASA revived its interest in further exploration of Europa, as you can see at some of the links below, and in December 2015 Congress (in setting NASA’s future budget) directed that the Europa mission should include a lander.
- BBC news article on the JUICE mission - video. Juice team members Andrew Coates and Michele Dougherty discuss their ‘exciting’ Jupiter mission.
- ESA’s JUICE page. The offical JUICE page of the European Space Agency.
- David Rothery in conversation with Louise Prockter: Missions to Europa. A short bonus video recorded 10 September 2015, containing news of missions to Europa. You met Louise in a the ‘Ice and Ganymede’ video early in week 2. Since this bonus video was recorded, the mission has been further developed and has been named Europa Clipper. There is a link to the official mission page in Step 8.23.
- A Europa lander. Article about the 2015 US Congressional directive to include a lander as part of NASA’s Europa mission.
- NASA’s Europa mission. A 3 minute video about NASA’s Europa mission, published in June 2015.
- David Rothery in conversation again with Louise Prockter about missions to Europa A follow on from the September 2015 conversation, with up to date news.
- Simplified Europa lander proposed. A description of March 2018 plans for the Europa lander.