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ESA sets Cosmic Vision sights on Jupiter’s icy moons

2 May 2012, 18:15 UTC
ESA sets Cosmic Vision sights on Jupiter’s icy moons
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In its “Cosmic Vision” push to explore the Solar system, Europe has setits sights on Jupiter icy moons, with a mission to launch for Europa, Ganymedeand Callisto in 2022.
The so-called JUICE mission – Jupiter Icy moons Explorer – will arriveat Jupiter in 2030 and spend at least three years making detailed observations.Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are all thought to host internal oceans, so themission will study the moons as potential habitats for life, addressing two keythemes of Cosmic Vision: what are the conditions for planet formation and theemergence of life, and how does the Solar System work?
JUICE will continuously observe Jupiter’s atmosphere and magnetosphere,and the interaction of the Galilean moons with the gas giant planet.
It will visit Callisto, the most heavily cratered object in the SolarSystem, and will twice fly by Europa. JUICE will make the first measurements ofthe thickness of Europa’s icy crust and will identify candidate sites forfuture in situ exploration.
The spacecraft will finally enter orbit around Ganymede in 2032, whereit will study the icy surface and internal structure of the ...

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