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What Jupiter's icy moons' JUICE spacecraft hopes to discover

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Photo Credit: The Conversation The JUICE spacecraft, which will visit the Jupiter system and explore several of its moons, will be launched tomorrow. The European Space Agency's (ESA) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer will study Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, three of Jupiter's largest moons, to determine whether these far-off, icy worlds might be habitable. These moons may harbor oceans of liquid water beneath their thick, icy crusts, making them potentially livable despite their great distance from the sun. Strong evidence that there may be an entire watery world beneath 10 to 15 kilometres of ice has been provided by observations from earlier missions that visited or flew by the Jupiter system, which look to be water plumes erupting from Europa's surface. [caption id="attachment_150371" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Europa's surface Astronomy Magazine[/caption] The Ariane 5 rocket will launch the spacecraft on Thursday, April 13, from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (you can watch the launch from your house). The spacecraft was completely integrated last year in order to be ready for the launch, after which it was packaged and transported from its testing location in Toulouse, France to French Guiana. Also Read: Jupiter’s Moons Europa & Ganymede’s Most Detailed Images Released To fit inside the rocket, JUICE folds down to a size of around 4 by 4 by 2 meters. Once in orbit, it expands to its full size of 17 by 27 by 14 meters. The spacecraft's massive solar panels, which must be large to absorb the weak sun's rays for electricity as it travels far out into the solar system toward Jupiter, as well as a variety of antennae and booms that will hold instruments, are among the components of that deployment. In order for the instruments to collect sensitive readings of things like magnetic fields without being interfered with by the spacecraft's systems, they need to be held apart from the spacecraft's body by these booms. The moon Ganymede will be the major objective of the JUICE mission. The spacecraft will fly around it 12 times, getting as near to the moon as 250 miles during its closest approach. The only moon in the solar system known to produce its own magnetic field is Ganymede. This magnetic field resides within Jupiter's larger magnetic field and interacts with it in intricate ways, making Ganymede distinctive. The magnetic field of Jupiter also has an impact on the auroras that Ganymede's magnetic field produces, which are bands of blazing gas encircling the moon. JUICE mission launches this week on its way to Jupiter and icy moons | BBC  Sky at Night Magazine Photo Credit: BBC Sky At Night Magazine In order to develop a picture of how Ganymede interacts with the wider Jupiter system, JUICE will collect data from Ganymede in order to understand its gravity, shape, and interior structure as well as its magnetic field. Additionally, it will search for biosignatures of substances like carbon, oxygen, iron, and water that are essential to life. The mission will also conduct 21 flybys of Callisto, which may provide hints as to how Jupiter appeared when it was young, and two flybys of the Europa moon, searching for further biosignatures and indications of water in particular.

By Prelo Con

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