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JUICE ready for launch, with plaque commemorating Galileo Galilei

JUICE ready for launch, with plaque commemorating Galileo Galilei

  • The European Space Agency’s JUICE spacecraft has completed all tests, and is ready to leave its manufacturer, Airbus, for French Guiana, for its launch next April.
  • JUICE will study the giant planet and its icy moons, Callisto, Europa and Ganymede, for potential clues to whether they might be suitable for hosting life.
  • A plaque was installed on the car in honor of Galileo Galilei, who was the first to see Jupiter and its four largest moons in 1610.

European probe juice (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) Ready: Tests completed, now it should be ready for launch aboard an Ariane V rocket in April, before embarking on 8 year long journey through the solar system.

JUICE is the most ambitious science mission in the European Space Agency’s science space programme cosmic vision For the decade 2015-2025. It will make detailed observations of the gas giant and its three large oceanic moons: Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede. One of the most ambitious goals is to see if oceans hidden beneath the surface of Jupiter’s icy moons have the potential to host extraterrestrial life.

At the moment JUICE is still based at Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse which will depart in early February. In fact, the spacecraft will soon be placed in a container, to travel to the European space port of Kourou, in French Guiana. Among other records, in addition to being the probe with the largest solar panels ever launched toward the outer solar system, it will also be the first European space mission toward Jupiter.

As a parting gift, A.J commemorative plaque In honor of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who was the first to see Jupiter and its largest moon in 1610. More than 400 years later, JUICE will give a much clearer picture of Jupiter Europa, Ganymede, and Callistobefore becoming the first spacecraft to orbit one of Jupiter’s moons.

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8 years through the solar system

Jupiter is more than 600 million km from Earth. To create such a complex route and for such a huge distance, extreme navigation techniques would be required. They will depend on Deep Space Antenna Network From ESA, in Spain, Argentina and Australia, remotely controlled by ESOC. Many things could go wrong, but in the coming weeks, all post-launch simulations will be running to test every possible problem, so we can manage any situation even in space.

On his journey to Jupiter, juice will run out series of bridges From the Earth and the Earth-Moon-Venus system. It is expected to reach Jupiter in July 2013. After that, the spacecraft will make 35 flybys of the icy moons, before entering orbit around Ganymede for more detailed observations in December 2034.

Diagram showing the main steps of the JUICE mission, on its journey to Jupiter. It will reach the Jovian system of the icy moon in July 2031, Credits: European Space Agency

JUICE WILL TRAVEL A TOTAL Two billion kilometers. The travel time will also allow the solar panels to absorb as much energy as possible. In fact, the car will need that much power as soon as it gets through snow streak Between Mars and Jupiter, temperatures drop to -220 degrees Celsius.

At that point, the spacecraft would have to brake in order to glide into Jupiter’s orbit. For this part of the mission, she will be completely alone. The team will follow the maneuver here on the ground, but without being able to interfere.

Upon reaching Jupiter’s system, JUICE will encounter an environment with Harsh radiation and temperatures, to collect data that will unlock the secrets of the complex environment of the planet and its moons. At the end of its mission, the probe will crash into the surface of Ganymede.

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Painting dedicated to Galileo

A plaque has been installed on JUICE in honor of the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was the first to see Jupiter and its four largest moons in January 1610, through a telescope. His observation that the moons changed position from night to night challenged the belief that everything in the sky revolved around the Earth. The moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are dubbed Galilee Satellite rnnb.

The painting reproduces several pages from Sidereus Nuncius by Galileo, where he describes his observations of the moons. The copy of the text from which this reproduction comes is held in the library of the Astronomical and Copernican Museum on the premises of the National Institute in Rome. It is one of the first 550 ever printed in 1610 in Venice.

Galileo's painting
Commemorative plaque celebrating Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s moons affixed to the European Space Agency’s JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer). Credits: INAF

The photo on the left shows the title page with the signature “Copernican Museum in Rome” and the name “A. Wolynski “, Artur Wolynski, the first owner of the text, a Polish scientist who donated the book to the former Central Meteorological Office of the Collegium Romanum Observatory in 1882. The photos in the center And on the right are taken from pages describing a series of observations made by Galileo. The open circle represents Jupiter, while the “stars” represent the changing positions of the moons as they orbit the planet.

Regarding the plate installation, Giuseppe Sarri, Jupiter Project Manager at the European Space Agency, said: “It is an opportunity to celebrate the curiosity and wonder of all those who have already looked at Jupiter in the night sky and pondered our origins: the inspiration behind this mission.”

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