The European Space Agency (ESA) has been busy working on a large mission in their ESA Cosmic Vision program. The mission, headed by the second largest space contractor, Airbus Defense and Space, is expected to launch in 2022. The project coined ‘JUICE’ is an acronym taken from JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer. JUICE’s goal is an attempt to answer to the life-long question: are there habitats beyond Earth that can sustain life in our solar system?
JUICE will be Europe’s first mission to Jupiter with the intent of exploring potentially habitable worlds that might present themselves near gas giants. The mission to Jupiter will investigate three large and icy ocean-bearing moons: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
Two concepts will be studied:
- What conditions are present for the formation of planets?
- What conditions are present for life to emerge?
After a launch from Ariane 5, JUICE will travel 7.5 years. The Explorer will use gravity to help pull it along saving energy and fuel as it circles Earth, Mars, Venus, and—the final destination—Jupiter. Once in the orbit of Jupiter, JUICE will remain for over 3.5 years and will finish the mission by looping Ganymede. This will make it the first spacecraft to orbit an icy satellite in the outer regions of our Solar System.
A wide range of instruments will record data, including optical sensors, radars, plasma and particle sensors, and more. Powered by a solar generator, the 5.5 ton JUICE will enable the spacecraft to produce enough energy for the mission, even in Jupiter’s reduced solar environment.
Here at Connectronics, we’re excited to see the JUICE mission take off as we work with the aerospace industry and many associated companies. As a custom manufacturer of specialized connectors and interconnection systems, we work with high voltage and high current connectors for industries such as aerospace, analytical (radars), avionics, commercial/industrial, defense, medical, nuclear, and oil exploration.
We invite you to learn more about Connectronics and stay up to date on the various industries we work with. Continue to read our blog, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on LinkedIn for your latest industry updates.