European Space Agency set to launch Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) 

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European Space Agency set to launch Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) 

Recently, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Jupiter icy Moons Explorer ie Juice (Jupiter icy Moons Explorer: Juice) has been sent from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana to the planet Jupiter by Ariane 5 rocket.

Key facts:

  • This successful launch marks the beginning of an ambitious journey to uncover the secrets of the world of oceans around the giant planet Jupiter.
  • It will make detailed observations of the gas giant Jupiter and its three large oceanic moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
  • It has a cruise time (2031) of eight years, which includes flybys of Earth and Venus that take it near Jupiter.
  • Before entering the orbit of Ganymede, it will make 35 revolutions of the three large moons orbiting Jupiter.
  • Juice is a mission led by ESA that also includes contributions from NASA, JAXA and the Israel Space Agency. It is the first large class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme.

Jupiter and Ganymede

  • Astronomer Galileo Galilei first brought Jupiter to light in 1610, observing the planet through a telescope and discovering its orbiting moons.
  • His observation overturned the long-held idea that everything in the sky revolved around the Earth.
  • Juice—which includes a commemorative plaque honoring Galileo’s discoveries—will see Jupiter and its moons in a way Galileo never dreamed possible.
  • Three of Jupiter’s largest moons – Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – harbor volumes of water buried beneath their surfaces far greater than Earth’s oceans.
  • These planet-sized moons give us fascinating hints that conditions favorable to life may exist here, and Juice may help us answer this fascinating question.

Primary Scientific Study Goal of Ganymede Juice Mission

  • Ganymede, which is even larger than the planet Mercury, is the primary scientific study target of the JUICE mission. The mission will spend about nine months observing it closely from its orbit.
  • Ganymede has one special feature, apart from a hidden ocean that makes it important to study.
  • It is the only moon in the Solar System to generate its own magnetic field. Apart from Ganymede, only two other solid bodies – the planet Mercury and the planet Earth – also generate their own magnetic fields.

Source – Indian Express

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