Juice’s Odyssey of Exploration: To Uncover the Hidden Secrets of Mysterious Worlds

ESA Juice Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer

Juice was selected in 2012 as the first ‘Large-class’ mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. With its powerful instrument package, Juice will provide the most detailed analysis yet of Jupiter and its water worlds as an archetype for gas giants across the Universe. Its results will not only help us dig deeper into the family history of our own Solar System but will also place in context results from ESA’s fleet of exoplanet missions analyzing Jupiter-like systems.
In the artist’s impression, which is not to scale, Ganymede is shown in the foreground, Callisto to the far right, and Europa center-right. Volcanically active moon Io is also shown, at left. The moons were imaged by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft; Jupiter is seen here with a vivid aurora, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Credit: spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Jupiter: NASA/ESA/J. Nichols (University of Leicester); Ganymede: NASA/JPL; Io: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; Callisto and Europa: NASA/JPL/DLR

A grand odyssey of exploration is about to begin. Humankind’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System, ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, is poised to explore giant planet Jupiter and its largest moons. These intriguing worlds have piqued our curiosity ever since Galileo first raised his telescope to the planet and discovered its four largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, three of which are thought to harbor underground oceans.

Early space probes visiting the Jovian system have raised more questions than answers. But thanks to Juice, many of those answers are now within reach. ESA is launching the spacecraft in April 2023 on an eight-year journey to the distant planet.

To uncover the hidden secrets of these mysterious worlds, Juice is equipped with the most powerful science instruments ever sent to the outer Solar System. The spacecraft will face many dangers along the way: radiation, extreme temperatures, and the vast gravitational pull of Jupiter, all while operating hundreds of millions of kilometers from Earth. But in the safe hands of ESA’s operators to guide it safely through these challenges, the dangers will be worth it for the science that Juice is destined to uncover.

The countdown to this new era of Jupiter system exploration has begun. Stay tuned!

In April 2023, Juice, the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer by ESA, will embark on an eight-year journey toward Jupiter. The mission aims to explore the emergence of habitable worlds around gas giants, using the Jupiter system as a model for the many giant planets found orbiting other stars. It will make detailed observations of the giant gas planet and its three large ocean-bearing moons – Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa – with a comprehensive suite of remote sensing, geophysical, and in situ instruments.

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