How the JUICE mission will search for habitability on Jupiter’s moons

The European House Company’s JUICE probe launched in April this 12 months

ESA/Stephane Corvaja

DECADES-LONG house missions are deliberate all the way down to the second. The precise routes the craft journey via the photo voltaic system are meticulously mapped out, based mostly on years of design and testing. If you wish to deviate from these, you had higher have a compelling cause.

However that’s exactly what occurred in 2005, throughout NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn. Upon seeing one thing uncommon, Michele Dougherty, a physicist at Imperial School London, requested for a better have a look at one in all Saturn’s moons, Enceladus. What the probe noticed was unimaginable: huge plumes of water vapour erupting from cracks on the moon’s south pole.

Immediately, with Cassini lengthy gone, Dougherty is trying ahead to creating additional uncommon discoveries, because the principal investigator on the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission operated by the European House Company (ESA). This undertaking, which launched in April, has a transparent objective: to higher perceive whether or not Jupiter’s moons have the best components to harbour life.

Jupiter has between 80 and 95 moons, however JUICE will concentrate on three of its 4 largest. It’s going to fly by Europa, Ganymede – the most important moon within the photo voltaic system – and Callisto, earlier than going into orbit round Ganymede.

Michele Dougherty

Michele Dougherty

Nabil Nezzar

Dougherty tells New Scientist why we have to be open to the surprising secrets and techniques that would lurk beneath the icy exteriors of those worlds and the way she plans to disclose them.

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