Jupiter-Bound Spacecraft Takes A Small Step To Seek Habitable Worlds

Artist's impression of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) near Jupiter and one of its moons, Europa. Credit: ESA/AOES

Artist’s impression of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) near Jupiter and one of its moons, Europa. Credit: ESA/AOES

It takes years of painstaking work to get a spacecraft off the ground. So when you have a spacecraft like JUICE (the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) set to launch in 2022, you need to back up about a decade to get things figured out. How will the spacecraft get there? What science instruments will it carry? What will the spacecraft look like and what systems will support its work?

JUICE just hit another milestone in its development a few days ago, when the European Space Agency gave the go-ahead for the “implementation phase” — the part where the spacecraft design begins to take shape. The major goal of the mission will be to better understand those moons around Jupiter that could be host to life.

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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