EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY’S JUPITER MISSION ‘JUICE’ CALLED OFF!
The universe is vast, but the progress we make in discovering new things about the smallest secrets of the universe is definitely big. For ages, scientists and astronauts have been keeping themselves awake to unravel the intricate secrets of the ever-expanding universe.
Even the smallest steps we take towards knowing more about space, are our greatest achievements. And today, we see the European Space Agency taking its first step to study the Big Giant of our Solar System – planet Jupiter.
The spacecraft that is set to carry JUICE to its destination, the Ariane 5 was supposed to start its flight from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 13 April 2023 at 12:15 UTC. But the scheduled launch was called off due to lightning nearby the launch site.
Mission JUICE, ESA’s first mission to Jupiter, aims to study more about the giant’s icy moons. The mission’s name JUICE itself is an abbreviation of ‘Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer’. Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa are the targets of the research.
If we speak about JUICE’s flight into space, it is to be launched into space by one of the world’s most powerful operational rockets, the Ariane 5. Ariane 5 has a credit history of 115 missions which includes the launch of the sensational James Webb Space Telescope.
A 28min ride on Ariane 5 will give JUICE enough velocity to escape the Earth’s gravity. Once JUICE goes out into the solar system escaping the earth’s gravity, its two-power generating solar array wing will be unfurled by a ground station.
JUICE’s voyage to Jupiter will e monitored by ground controllers at the ESA spacecraft operation center in Germany, where there will be plenty of instrument, antenna, and boom deployments during the first 17 days post-launch.
JUICE is scheduled to enter Jupiter’s orbit around July 2031 following its eight-year voyage there using the gravity assistance of both Earth and Venus. If things go in our favor, JUICE will become the first-ever spacecraft to go around Jupiter’s moons.
JUICE, has been fitted with ground-penetrating radar, a high-resolution mapping camera, and a suite of spectrometers to explore the icy landscapes of Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa, three of Jupiter’s largest moons. Under their ice crusts, these moons of Jupiter are thought to contain oceans of liquid water, and hence is the mission looking forward to knowing more about them.
In JUICE we have 10 science instruments including some European-developed, US -developed, and Japan-developed research instruments. JUICE is also fitted with an Italian-led radar that helps us unbound the depths under the icy crusts of the moons up to 6 miles. JUICE also has a main camera that delivers us pictures of Jupiter’s clouds, its rings, and the crusty landscapes of its moons.
Everything is in place and the ESA will soon take this big step. Let us sit fingers crossed hoping for the best outcome to come our way. Comment your opinion about this huge step.