The European Space Agency (ESA) Juice mission, the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, begins today its nine-year journey to the Jovian system, with the aim of analyzing the habitability of the giant gas planet and its three large oceanic moons (Ganymede, Callisto and Europa).
As reported by the CSIC, it will be the first spacecraft to orbit a moon other than ours (Ganymede), and also the first to carry out a Moon-Earth gravity assist maneuver to save fuel. The Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), the only Spanish institution that participates technologically in the mission, has contributed two models of geodetic instrumentation. In addition, scientifically, researchers from the University of the Basque Country and the Center for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA) participate.
Today, ESA’s Juice probe will lift off for Jupiter from the European Spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana. The mission will investigate, on the one hand, the appearance of habitable worlds around gas giants and, on the other, the Jupiter system as an archetype of the numerous giant exoplanets that orbit other stars.