“We’re pleased with the overall design of the instruments and we’re ready to begin implementation,” said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “In the very near future, JUICE will go from the drawing board to instrument building and then on to the launch pad in 2022.”
JUICE is the first large-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 program. Aboard the spacecraft is a suite of 10 advanced scientific instruments. NASA will provide the Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) as well as components and subsystems for both the Particle Environment Package (PEP) and the Radar for Icy Moon Exploration (RIME) experiment.
According to NASA, the UVS will investigate the dynamics and atmospheric chemistry of Jupiter’s icy satellites and its volcanic moon Io. The scientific team also hopes to learn more about the structure of Jupiter’s atmosphere and determine the relationship between changing magnetosphere conditions to observed auroral structures.
The PEP is an instrument made up of six sensors that is capable of making 3-D map of the plasma system surrounding Jupiter. One of the sensors, called PEP-Hi, will be provided by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and is made up of two separate components known as JoEE and JENI. JoEE will focus primarily on studying the magnetosphere of Ganymede, and JENI will observe the composition and dynamics of the doughnut-shaped cloud of gas and plasma that encompasses Europa.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is providing key components to the RIME experiment, which is an ice-penetrating radar. The device will be utilized to determine the subsurface structure of Jupiter’s icy moons. RIME will focus on Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa to study the formation mechanisms and interior systems that produce subsurface bodies of water.
NASA’s contributions to the JUICE mission will complement the space agency’s Europa Clipper multiple flyby mission, which is also scheduled to launch sometime in the early 2020s.
“The missions are like close members of the same family. Together they will explore the entire Jovian system,” said Curt Niebur, program scientist at NASA Headquarters. “Clipper is focused on Europa and determining its habitability. JUICE is looking for a broader understanding how the entire group of Galilean satellites formed and evolved.”