ESA's JUICE mission is heading to Jupiter to hunt for signs of life on its icy moons.
Understanding Jupiter’s icy moons could help us answer some of the biggest questions about our solar system, like how exactly did life form? That’s exactly what the European Space Agency’s JUICE mission hopes to find out.
From its familiar stripes to its giant red spot, Jupiter has mesmerized scientists for centuries. It’s the largest planet in our solar system, and its icy moons could harbor key ingredients for life. And now ESA is on a mission to make history and gain a better understanding of what may lie beneath the icy crusts of the planet’s moons.
The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or JUICE, is ESA’s mission to study if the icy moons around Jupiter are as habitable as scientists think. The single orbital spacecraft will orbit Europa and Callisto, but will make history as it orbits Ganymede for the first time ever.
It’s not every day that we send a spacecraft to Jupiter, so JUICE will be equipped with ten instruments, all working together to try and capture as much data as possible
hopefully leaving us with a better understanding of our solar system’s largest planet and its mysterious moons.
Find out more about the mission and the answers it could hold in this Countdown to Launch.
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"JUICE - JUpiter ICy moons Explorer - is the first large-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme."
"While Jupiter has been known since ancient times, the first detailed observations of this planet were made by Galileo Galilei in 1610 with a small telescope. "
JUICE: Exploring Jupiter's Moons
"JUICE, also known as the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer, is a European Space Agency mission intended to explore Jupiter and three of its icy moons: Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. "
Thumb Photo credit: ESA–M.Cowan