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JUICE: New Mission To Jupiter Approved By ESA, Will Launch In 2022

First Posted: Mar 21, 2017 06:15 AM EDT
JUICE’s Journey To Jupiter
This screen cap from a video shows the proposed trajectory of ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission to Jupiter.
(Photo : European Space Agency, ESA/YouTube screenshot)

The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission has been approved by the European Space Agency (ESA), and its focus will be to explore the atmosphere and magnetosphere of planet Jupiter. The approval was given after fixing the preliminary design of JUICE and its interfaces earlier in the month.

According to Aerospace Technology, the approval paves the way to building a prototype spacecraft for rigorous testing ahead of its mission launch. A preliminary design review will also confirm its compatibility with the Ariane 5 launcher, which will catapult it to space.

Zee News India noted that because the JUICE mission will be operating in the outer Solar System. Far from the Sun, it will need a large solar array. JUICE is set to have two wings of five panels each, which can cover a total surface area of about a hundred square meters that should provide power until the end of the mission.

The solar panels for JUICE will also have to cope with a range of temperatures. It is expected to fly closer to the Sun for a Venus flyby, and its solar wings should be tilted to avoid excessive temperatures that could lead to damages for the solar cells.

The mission is scheduled to launch by 2022. It is set to examine the dark rings and satellites of Jupiter, as well as its known icy moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto. JUICE will then spend three and a half years examining the giant planet and is expected to reach the Jovian system in 2029.

It will be equipped with the necessary state-of-the-art instruments including cameras, an ice-penetrating radar, an altimeter, radio science experiments and sensors, to begin with. Special measures will also be set to allow the spacecraft to cope with harsh radiation that it must endure for the years it will spend around Jupiter.

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