Launching from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, the Juice will travel to Jupiter and its moons over the course of eight years.
Ariane 5 is now ready for launch with the European Space Agency’s Juice mission aboard. To investigate potential habitability on Jupiter and its three largest moons, scientists are sending a probe called the JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer (Juice) into space.
The Juice’s eight-year journey to Jupiter and its moons will begin in Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. At 13:15 BST (5:45″pm IST), Europe’s strongest rocket, the Ariane-5, will blast off to begin the mission.
After approximately 30 minutes, Juice will uncouple from the rocket and begin its journey into space. Before arriving in 2031, the spacecraft will make flybys of Venus, Earth, and the Earth-Moon system.
Jupiter’s three largest moons, Callisto, Europa, and especially Ganymede, will be studied by the probe. If life may originate in a variety of conditions throughout the universe, the moon’s subterranean seas may hold the key. The goal is to determine if the moons are habitable and if life can be sustained in the presence of giants.
According to the European Space Agency, the formation of habitable worlds surrounding gas giants is the overriding theme. Earth is the only known Solar System body to have witnessed the first signs of life. Is Earth the only place in the Solar System (or the universe) where life might have begun? According to ESA.
The spacecraft will characterise the atmosphere, magnetic environment, ring system, and other satellites of Jupiter, as well as the seas, icy shells, compositions, surfaces, habitats, and activity of Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto.
The spacecraft will spend months in orbit around Jupiter after its first entry into the Jovian system, during which time it will perform flybys of Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto and an orbital tour of Ganymede.