a European spaceship It took off on Friday, April 14th, towards Jupiter Three of its icy moons It is possible that the oceans were buried.
The trip started with a beautiful morning European rocket launch I see that from French Guiana on the coast of South America. But a few tense minutes passed after the controllers waited for signals from the spacecraft.
When the connection was finally confirmed about an hour into the flight, Mission Control in Germany stated: “!spaceship alive! “
“It is a proud moment for Europesaid Joseph Achbacher, CEO of the space agency. “I am very satisfied and happy“.
Automated explorer, aka juiceit will take Eight years to reach Jupiterwhere you will explore not only the largest planet in the solar system, but also EuropaAnd Callisto y Ganymede. It is believed that the three ice-covered moons harbor subterranean oceanswhere it can exist Marine life.
Then maybe in Most impressive of allJuice will attempt to enter orbit around Ganymede: no spacecraft has ever orbited a moon other than our own.
With so many moons, astronomers consider Jupiter a Its own little solar systemwith missions like Juice long overdue.
“We will not discover life with juicestressed the project scientist, Olivier Weetas.
But knowing more about the moons and their potential seas will bring scientists closer to answering the question of whether life exists elsewhere. “This will indeed be the most interesting aspect of the mission.Wetassi said.
juice is there Long circuitous road For Jupiter, cover 6.6 billion km.
It will be launched 200 km from Callisto and 400 km from Europe and Ganymede 35 flybys during the flyby of Jupiter. It will then hit the brakes to orbit Ganymede, the mission’s primary objective 1.6 million euros.
Ganymede Not only is it the largest moon in the solar system, surpassing Mercury, but it is its own magnetic field dazzlingly twilight in the poles.
More attractive, it is believed to have a subterranean ocean Contains More water than land. The same goes for Europa and reported heaters, and CallistoAnd A potential destination for humans due to its distance from Jupiter’s debilitating radiation beltsAccording to Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution, who is not involved with the juice mission.
The oceanic worlds in our solar system are the most likely to host possible life.said Sheppard, the moon hunter who helped discover more than 100 in the outer solar system.
The spacecraft, the size of a minibus, wouldn’t even reach Jupiter 2031depending on the gravity-assisted flight of the Earth and the Moon, as well as Venus.
“These things take time, and they change our world.said Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye. The California-based space advocacy group hosted a virtual launch party.
King Philippe and Prince Gabriel of Belgium and a pair of French astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Matthias Maurer of Germany were among the spectators in French Guiana. Thursday’s launch attempt was denied due to a lightning threat.
juice, which is short for Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, will spend three years bypassing Callisto, Europa and Ganymede. The spacecraft will attempt to enter orbit around Ganymede in late 2034, circling the moon for about a year before flight controls send it back to Earth. Crash in the year 2035Later, if there is enough fuel left.
Europa Particularly attractive to research scientists Signs of extraterrestrial life. However, Juice will keep his encounters with Europa to a minimum, due to the intense radiation there near Jupiter.
Juice sensitive electronics are coated with lead for radiation protection. spaceship 6 thousand 350 kg Also wrapped in thermal blankets: temperatures near Jupiter around minus 230 degrees Celsius. The solar panels extend 27 meters from end to end to absorb as much sunlight as they are far from the sun.
by the end of next year, NASA will send a more armored spacecraft to Jupiterwhich is long overdue Europa Clipperwhich will defeat Juice to Jupiter by over a year because it will fire the most powerful rocket ever SpaceX. The two spacecraft will come together to study Europa like never before.
NASA has long dominated the exploration of Jupiter, starting with flybys in the 1990s. 1970 by the twin astronauts and then Voyager. Only one spacecraft is still buzzing on Jupiter: Juno NASA, which just recorded its 50th orbit since 2016.
Europe provided nine of Joss’ science instruments, and NASA provided only one.
If Juice confirms that the subterranean oceans are conducive to past or present life, Weetas said the next step would be to send a drill to break through ice crusts and perhaps even a submarine.
“We have to be creative“, He said. We may still think it’s science fiction, but sometimes science fiction can meet reality“.