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NASA Approves Instruments For European Space Agency’s Jupiter Mission ‘JUICE’

First Posted: Apr 15, 2017 06:10 AM EDT

The American space agency, NASA, has reportedly given assent to a project that will make instruments for a future European Space Agency (ESA) mission to Jupiter and its moons. The mission is scheduled for a 2022 launch and is expected to reach the Jupiter system in October 2029. The JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer (JUICE) is being designed to study the emergence of habitable celestial worlds around Jupiter.

JUICE will spend almost four years observing the gas giant’s magnetosphere, turbulent atmosphere and its large icy moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. According to NASA, at the moment its partnership with JUICE has cleared a key milestone, moving from preliminary instrument design to implementation phase.

The milestone referred to as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C) is the agency-level approval for the project to enter building phase. It also provides a baseline for the mission’s schedule and budget -- the latter is expected to be $114.4 million. The next milestone in the partnership will be the U.S. space agency’s contributions for Critical Design Review (CDR) in about one year.

“We are pleased with the overall design of the instruments and we are ready to start implementation,” said NASA’s director of the Planetary Science Division Jim Green, according to a Financial Express report. “In the very near future, JUICE will go from the drawing board to instrument building and then on to the launch pad in 2022.”

The first in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program, JUICE is a large-class mission that will carry 10 science instruments. The American space agency will make the Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) as well as components and subsystems for two more instrument -- the Particle Environment Package (PEP) and Radar for Icy Moon Exploration (RIME) experiment.

According to NASA, JUICE will complement NASA’s Europa Clipper multiple-flyby mission, which will combinedly explore the entire Jupiter system. While Clipper will be focusing more on Jupiter’s moon Europa and investigating its habitability, JUICE will help in understanding how the four largest moons of Jupiter (Galilean moons) formed and evolved.

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