The ESA mission is slated to launch in 2022.
Jupiter has some pretty amazing moons.
There’s Europa, a prime target in our search for alien life. That's because of the ocean of water that lies under its shell of ice.
Then there’s Io, a volcanic moon, which spews lava dozens of miles into space.
Ganymede is another moon with another potential watery ocean underneath its surface.
To study these moons up close, the European Space Agency plans to send a spacecraft called JUpiter ICy moons Explorer — or JUICE.
Julian Biederbick / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
The mission is an international one, with ESA teaming up with NASA as well as Japan’s space agency, JAXA.
JUICE will carry 10 scientific instruments to the Jupiter system to study three out of the four Galilean moons: Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede (Io being the 4th).
Scientists are pretty certain that Europa and Ganymede contain a water ocean under their surface ice, but they’re less sure about Callisto.
The spacecraft will use radar, lasers, spectrometers, and cameras to study these moons, their origins, and whether or not they host life, in depth.
ESA plans to launch JUICE in 2022. It would take 7 years for the spacecraft to reach the Jupiter system, so the team wouldn’t be able to start their in depth research until about 2029.
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