European Space Agency Life-Hunting Jupiter Mission 202319th Feb 2022
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working on an upcoming Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission, which will be launched in 2023 to explore Jupiter’s moons. This is our solar system’s largest planet, with 79 moons. The JUICE spacecraft, currently being developed, will focus on three of these moons: Castillo, Europa, and Ganymede. The European Space Agency argues among the three, Europa will get much of the attention because of the ocean beneath its icy crust. These moons are called Galilean Moons because they were first observed by Galileo in the 17th century.
The Focus on Galilean Moons
One of the reasons Europa’s oceans are of great interest is because astrobiologists believe living things on Earth need water to survive. While they admit this is not necessarily the same for alien life, they believe looking for signs of life in water is a good place to start. Europa has oceans with more liquid water than all the seas, rivers, and lakes on Earth says the European Space Agency JUICE mission team.
The next destination is Castillo, which will host JUICE on 12 occasions. The spacecraft will do a high number of flybys. Because it’s the outermost of the Galilean moons, Castillo gets the least amount of gravity and radiation, and scientists believe the moon has an ocean 200 kilometres deep beneath the surface.
The Ganymede Mission
Also, astronomers are looking at Ganymede, which the JUICE mission spacecraft will orbit for eight months. This mission will help scientists study the moon’s magnetism, the most exciting feature of Ganymede. The spacecraft on this mission will be the first to orbit a moon other than Earth’s. This moon of Jupiter is bigger than Mercury and Jupiter. This makes it bigger than any other moon, a great mission for the European Space Agency and other companies in the space business.