The European Space Agency is scheduled to launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission on Thursday
The European Space Agency (ESA) is set to launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) mission on Thursday from its spaceport in French Guiana. Juice is to reach Jupiter in 2031, where it will carry out a detailed exploration of the Solar System's largest planet and its icy moons, including their potential as habitable environments.
Only two other spacecraft have ever examined Jupiter: the Galileo probe, which orbited the gas giant between 1995 and 2003, and Juno, which has been circling the planet since 2016. Notably, by the time Juice reaches Jupiter, another spacecraft, NASA's Europa Clipper, would already be orbiting the planet. Scheduled to be launched in October this year, Europa Clipper would arrive at Jupiter in 2030 and aims to study its moon Europa.
What is the Juice mission ?
According to the ESA's website, the Juice "will make detailed observations of the giant gas planet and its three large ocean- bearing moons- Ganymede, Callisto and Europa', by using remote sensing, geophysical and in situ instruments.
The mission will examine all three moons, the main focus will be on Ganymede, the largest moon in the Solar System - larger than Pluto and Mercury and the only one to generate its own magnetic field.
Another primary goal of the mission is to create a comprehensive picture of Jupiter by trying to understand its origin, history and evolution.