‘Juice’ explorer searches for life on Jupiter’s moon : Weekly Donga

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Jupiter ‘Juice’ probe was scheduled to launch in April. [ESA 제공]

One of the most anticipated space explorations this year is the exploration of Jupiter, the largest in the solar system. The European Space Agency (ESA) will send a probe to Jupiter in April called ‘Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer’, or ‘JUICE’ for short. The Juice probe is expected to reach Jupiter’s orbit in 2031 and explore Jupiter’s moons Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. Jupiter’s moons harbor oceans beneath their icy surfaces, making it highly likely that life could exist within them. The Juice Probe uses probes to map the shape of the oceans distributed on Jupiter’s icy moons and to look for indicators of life on the surface of the ice.

The Jupiter probe ‘Juice’ was launched in April

Prob juice under test. [ESA 제공]

Prob juice under test. [ESA 제공]

Juice was selected as the first large-scale mission of ESA’s ‘Space Vision 2015-2025’ program in 2012. It will launch in April this year and reach Jupiter in 2031. It is a long journey that will take a total of 8 years. After that, it orbits Jupiter and performs a mission at an altitude of 200 to 1000 km above the satellites, and is expected to complete the mission around 2035. Jupiter has 92 moons, the most of any planet in the solar system. Of these, Juice plans to observe Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede. Specifically, during the final mission phase, Juice orbits Ganymede and conducts careful research for at least nine months. This is also the first case of a probe orbiting a satellite from a planet other than Earth. Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system and is considered a mysterious moon with a lot of potential. Currently, the juice rover is undergoing final testing at the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France. In a press conference held in Paris, France earlier this year, ESA Secretary General Josef Aschbacher said that the goal is to launch the Juice probe on April 14. Juice is launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from r European Space Station in French Guiana on the Atlantic coast. The weight of the juice probe is 5300 kg. It contains about 3,000 kg of fuel because it has to go through a complex trajectory with heavy weight. It was powered by solar cells and had a total of 10 probes.

Jupiter is the largest and most massive planet in the solar system other than the sun. According to NASA, Jupiter is twice as massive as all the other planets in the solar system combined. A gas giant planet without a solid surface. Jupiter’s atmosphere consists mainly of hydrogen and helium, with some ammonia and methane. In fact the streaks and eddies on the surface of Jupiter are very cold, violent storms, atmospheric streams of gases such as hydrogen and helium.

It is expected to reach Jupiter in 2031

Jupiter's moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. [NASA 제공]

Jupiter’s moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. [NASA 제공]

Notably, Jupiter’s atmosphere contains water vapor, and its moons are covered in ice. Galileo’s discovery of four large moons of Jupiter in 1610 changed mankind’s view of the universe. Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, the four main moons first discovered by Galileo, are known as the Galilean moons. Several spacecraft have explored Europa, from Pioneer 10 to Voyager in the 1970s. The Galileo spacecraft conducted long missions to Jupiter and its moons between 1995 and 2003. Since 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter and exploring Jupiter and its moons. The purpose of the Juice probe is to investigate whether there is a large ocean beneath the lunar crust. All three satellites examined this time are covered in ice. In 1998, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft found evidence of a liquid ocean swirling beneath Europa’s surface. Europa’s frozen crust consists mostly of ice. It is estimated to contain twice as much water as the Earth’s oceans. Also, the discovery of an underwater volcano on Europa has raised hopes that there is life there. Scientists believe that Ganymede also has a subsurface ocean. Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system that has its own magnetic field. In 2015, NASA observed changes in Ganymede’s aurora and magnetic field with the Hubble Space Telescope and found evidence that the subsurface oceans are saltier than Earth’s oceans.

Jupiter's ice-covered moon Ganymede. [NASA 제공]

Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Ganymede. [NASA 제공]

The Juice probe was tasked with revealing the secrets of satellites in extreme environments, such as radiation, temperature changes, and the massive gravity of Jupiter hundreds of millions of kilometers away from Earth. Jupiter’s magnetic field is nearly 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s. This is over 1,000 times more radiation than is lethal to humans, and is powerful enough to damage even shielded probes. The 10 probes on board the Juice probe are for remote sensing and land observation, including the Ganymede gravity field measurement device, laser altimeter, optical camera, magnetometer, image spectrometer, and UV imaging spectrometer. These instruments are used for a variety of missions, from measurements of Jupiter’s atmosphere, magnetic field and plasma to remote observation of the surface and interior of its three icy moons. Magnetometers, particle detectors, and plasma instruments measure magnetic fields to probe the presence of subsurface oceans. In addition, it helps to detect the interior of the satellite by measuring the gravitational field with a wireless device. This is because the existence of a large body of water inside Ganymede can cause a change in the flow of the magnetic field.

The United States is also following a trip to Jupiter’s moons.

The radar developed by the Italian Space Agency and NASA can penetrate the surface of the satellite at a depth of 9 km and observe the interior. It is possible to estimate how Jupiter’s moons evolved. It is also expected to help identify organic molecules that are traces of life by understanding the complex topography of Europa and Callisto.

Over the past 200 years, Mars has been the planet most likely to find life in the solar system. But in recent decades astronomers have been carefully observing the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. This is because it contains vast oceans with liquid water beneath the icy surface. Water is the most important prerequisite for sustaining life. The reason why the Juice probe was aimed at a moon rather than Jupiter is also because life is likely to exist inside the icy. By exploring the ocean beneath the surface of the satellite, it is possible to unlock the possibility of life, as well as the evolution of the solar system and the secrets of planetary systems. If you have water, energy and organic chemicals, you have the basic building blocks that can develop into life like Earth. The mission is expected to shed light on the interior of icy moons and expand the thinking about habitable planets.

NASA's Jupiter rover 'Europa Clipper'. [NASA 제공]

NASA’s Jupiter rover ‘Europa Clipper’. [NASA 제공]

Following Europe, the United States and China are also promoting Jupiter exploration. The Juice probe was originally planned as a joint mission with NASA. NASA’s Jupiter probe ‘Europa Clipper’, launched in 2024, will reach Jupiter in 2030, a year before Juice, if it is on schedule. Europa Clipper plans to orbit Jupiter and work with the Juice probe to explore Europa’s inner ocean. China is also pursuing exploration of Jupiter following Mars. Giovanna Tinetti, professor of astrophysics at University College London, told The Guardian, “Some of the recently discovered super-Earths (planets with a greater mass than Earth) are similar to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and have been made of ice, rocks, and oceans “It is likely that we will be able to get clues about the unknown universe by exploring accessible satellites.” in

Donga Weekly No. 1381 (p7~9)


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