Feeds

European Space Agency heads for Jupiter's moons

JUICE mission will inspect Europa, Callisto and Ganymede

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The European Space Agency has decided against pursuing the New Gravitational wave Observatory (NGO) the Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics (ATHENA) and will instead head for Jupiter with a craft dubbed the Jupiter Icy moons Explorer - or JUICE for short.

An artist's impression of the ESA's JUICE probe

An artist's impression
of the ESA's JUICE probe

JUICE will launch in 2022 and cruise for eight years en route to the Jovian system. Once it arrives it will visit Callisto and pass Europa twice. The former moon is the most heavily-cratered object in the solar system. The latter is famously encrusted in ice (and Arthur C Clarke plots) and the probe will try to measure just how thick the frozen coverage has become.

That phase of the mission will take two years. In 2032 the spacecraft will enter Ganymede's orbit and spend a year or more observing what ESA says is “the unique magnetic and plasma interactions with Jupiter’s magnetosphere in detail,” an endeavour deemed worthy given Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system to generate it's very own magnetic field.

The Agency made the decision to pursue JUICE yesterday, after a process that kicked off with a 2004 consultation process to determine the ESA's goals. That program resulted in a 2007 call for ideas for large missions to meet the resulting Cosmic Vision's four scientific aims, namely:

  1. What are the conditions for life and planetary formation?
  2. How does the Solar System work?
  3. What are the fundamental laws of the Universe?
  4. How did the Universe begin and what is it made of?.

“It was a difficult decision to choose one mission from three excellent candidates. All three would produce world-class science and put Europe at the forefront of space research,” said Professor Alvaro Giménez Cañete, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.

The ESA will issue another call for large missions in 2013. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?