What’s in the news?
- The European Space Agency has successfully launched its mission to Jupiter’s moons.
- The Ariane 5 rocket was launched from the ESA’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana as scheduled.
- The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) project aims to send a satellite on an eight-year journey to reach the icy moons of the gas giant.
- The spacecraft will use a gravitational sling-shot technique around Earth and Venus to give it enough energy to reach Jupiter.
- The probe could tell us whether Jupiter’s major moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa- have the conditions to support simple life. Jupiter’s three are thought to harbor big liquid-water oceans beneath their icy shells.
- After this final Earth encounter, the solar-powered probe will head toward Jupiter more directly, finally reaching the gas giant in July 2031.
- JUICE will then perform yet another flyby, this time of the huge Jovian moon Ganymede, to itself into orbit around Jupiter.