MSSL Planetary Science News

Selection of JUICE mission to Jupiter and Ganymede by ESA

8 May 2012

Artist's impression of ESA's JUICE mission (Credit: ESA/M. Carroll)

ESA's next "large class" (L-class) mission will be a mission called JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer) to study the giant planet Jupiter, its planetary system and magnetosphere, and particularly its moon Ganymede.

Since 2007 scientists across Europe and beyond have been studying missions that have been in competition for the European Space Agency's (ESA) next "large-class" mission to be launched around 2022. On 2 May 2012 the ESA Space Program Committee selected JUICE from a set of three competing mission concepts which had been rigorously studied and investigated for more than five years.

JUICE will launch in 2022 and will arrive in the jovian system in 2030, finally entering orbit around Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, in 2032. The moons Europa, Callisto and Ganymede are thought to host internal oceans underneath an icy crust and the mission will study these moons as potential habitats for life. JUICE will also continuously observe Jupiter's atmosphere and magnetosphere, and how the moons interact with Jupiter itself.

Prof. Andrew Coates has been involved in the definition of the mission and Dr. Chris Arridge has participated in the magnetospheres working group helping define the magnetospheric science that JUICE will address. Prof. Coates is also leading an international consortium involved in the development of a proposed instrument suite for JUICE.

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