European Space Agency’s Juice Mission
- Fifth in line from the Sun, Jupiter is, by far, the largest planet in the solar system – more than twice as massive as all the other planets combined.
- Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm bigger than Earth that has raged for hundreds of years.
- Jupiter rotates once about every 10 hours (a Jovian day), but takes about 12 Earth years to complete one orbit of the Sun (a Jovian year).
- Jupiter has more than 75 moons. The planet Jupiter’s four largest moons are called the Galilean satellites after Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who first observed them in 1610.
- In 1979, the Voyager mission discovered Jupiter’s faint ring system. Jupiter’s faint rings are likely from meteor bombardment of its moons, sending material into space.
- Nine spacecraft have visited Jupiter. Seven flew by, and two orbited the gas giant.
- The Galileo probe (NASA) orbited the planet between 1995 and 2003.
- Juno (NASA) has been circling the planet since 2016.
- The European Space Agency is set to launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) mission to explore Jupiter and its icy moons, namely Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.
- The mission is set to reach Jupiter in 2031. The spacecraft was constructed by Airbus Defence and Space, a division of the Airbus group.
- The main objective of the mission is to create detailed maps of the moons’ surfaces and look beneath them to probe the potentially habitable environments by analysing the water bodies underneath.
- The focus will be on Ganymede (the largest moon in the Solar System, which generates its magnetic field). The three moons, Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa, are believed to hold immense amounts of water, potentially making them habitable.
Content contributed by- Jeffrey V