“The JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) is the first L-class mission within ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme. It aims at a comprehensive exploration of the Jovian system with particular emphasis on Jupiter, its environment, and Galilean moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto by investigating them as planetary bodies and potential habitats.
Scheduled for launch in 2022, with arrival in the Jovian system in 2029, JUICE will spend three-and-a-half years examining the giant planet’s turbulent atmosphere, enormous magnetosphere, its set of tenuous dark rings and its satellites. It will study the large icy moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, which are thought to have oceans of liquid water beneath their icy crusts – perhaps even harbouring habitable environments. The mission will culminate in a dedicated, eight-month tour around Ganymede, the first time any moon beyond our own has been orbited by a spacecraft.
JUICE will be equipped with 10 state-of-the-art instruments, including cameras, an ice-penetrating radar, an altimeter, radio-science experiments, and sensors to monitor the magnetic fields and charged particles in the Jovian system. In order to ensure it can address these goals in the challenging Jovian environment, the spacecraft’s design has to meet stringent requirements. An important milestone was reached earlier ...