Picture of the Week

LUX dark matter detector

Detecting dark matter

The kind of matter and energy we can see and touch – whether it is in the form of atoms and molecules, or heat and light, only forms a tiny proportion of the content of the Universe, only about 5%. Over a quarter is dark matter, which is totally invisible but whose gravitational attraction can be detected; while over two thirds is dark energy, a force that pushes the Universe to expand ever faster.

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ESA selects instruments to be flown on its icy moons mission

1 March 2013

The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE). Image: NASA
The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer. Artist's impression: NASA

The European Space Agency's JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission (JUICE) will study Jupiter and its large, ice/ocean-bearing moons. JUICE is planned to launch in 2022 and arrive in 2030.

Dr Nick Achilleos (UCL Physics and Astronomy) is part of the J-MAG Consortium, an international team of investigators who have successfully proposed one of the 11 scientific experiments to be flown on board this mission.

Their magnetometer instrument, J-MAG (Jupiter system Magnetometer), led by Imperial's Prof Michele Dougherty, will play a vital role in characterising the magnetic interactions between the Jovian magnetosphere and the icy moons which orbit within that region. One of these icy moons, Europa, is of particular interest as it may harbour a subsurface water ocean.

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