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Esa selects 1bn-euro Juice probe to Jupiter

Posted by on May. 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM
  • 10 Replies

 

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Question: If travel to other planets were possible in your life time would you go exploring?

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I think I outed myself as a "geek" a long time ago in this group.  It doesn't help that I watched all 6 of the Star Trek movies over the past week (the original crew) and watching the first one with "V-ger" really made this story interesting to me so I thought I'd share.

I also want to pose this question: If travel to other planets were possible in your life time would you go exploring?

Esa selects 1bn-euro Juice probe to Jupiter

By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News  

  • Would launch on Ariane rocket in 2022
  • Journey to Jupiter system takes eight years
  • Will study gas giant as well as moons
  • Fly-bys planned for moons Callisto and Europa
  • First mission to orbit an icy moon - Ganymede
  • Would end mission by crashing into surface

Related Stories

The European Space Agency (Esa) is to mount a billion-euro mission to Jupiter and its icy moons.

The probe, called Juice, has just been approved at a meeting of member state delegations in Paris.

It would be built in time for a launch in 2022, although it would be a further eight years before it reached the Jovian system.

The mission has emerged from a five-year-long competition to find the next "large class" space venture in Europe.

Juice stands for JUpiter ICy moon Explorer. The concept proposes an instrument-packed, nearly five-tonne satellite to be sent out to the Solar System's biggest planet, to make a careful investigation of three of its biggest moons.

The spacecraft would use the gravity of Jupiter to initiate a series of close fly-bys around Callisto and Europa, and then finally to put itself in a settled orbit around Ganymede.

Emphasis would be put on "habitability" - in trying to understand whether there is any possibility that these moons could host microbial life.

Callisto, Europa and Ganymede are all suspected to have oceans of water below their icy surfaces. As such, they may have environments conducive to simple biology.

"People probably don't realise that habitable zones don't necessarily need to be close to a star - in our case, close to the Sun," explained Prof Michele Dougherty, a Juice science team member from Imperial College London, UK.

"There are four conditions required for life to form. You need water; you need an energy source - so the ice can become liquid; you need the right chemistry - nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen; and the fourth thing you need is stability - a length of time that allows life to form.

Juice team members Andrew Coates and Michele Dougherty on 'exciting' Jupiter mission

"The great thing about the icy moons in the Jupiter system is that we think those four conditions might exist there; and Juice will tell us if that is the case," she told BBC News.

The mission will cost Esa on the order of 830m euros (£695m; $1.1bn) over its entire life cycle. This includes the cost of manufacturing the spacecraft bus, or chassis, launching the satellite and operating it until 2033.

This sum does not however include Juice's 11 instruments. Funding for these comes from the member states. When this money is taken into account, the final budget for Juice is expected to be just short of 1.1bn euros.

It has not yet been decided which European nations will provide which instruments. An Announcement of Opportunity will be released this summer with a view to identifying the instrument providers by the start of next year.

The final and formal go-ahead for Juice should be given in 2014. In Esa-speak, this stage is referred to as "adoption".

It is the moment when all the elements required to build the satellite are in place and the full costings are established.

It is also the point at which any international participation is recognised.

Ganymede - a 'waterworld'

  • One of four big Jovian moons seen by Galileo
  • Takes roughly seven days to orbit Jupiter
  • Salty ocean thought to exist just below surface
  • Only moon known to possess a magnetosphere
  • Darker regions are more ancient than lighter ones
  • Previously visited by Voyager and Galileo probes

At the moment, Juice is a Europe-only venture, but there is every possibility that the Americans will get on board.

The US space agency (Nasa) walked away from the idea of producing a companion satellite to Juice - a spacecraft that would orbit Europa rather than Ganymede - due to programmatic differences and budget concerns.

Nonetheless, there is a strong desire among the American scientific community to have some involvement in Juice, especially in those aspects that concern Europa.

Dr Britney Schmidt from the University of Texas at Austin is excited that Europe has chosen to fly Juice, and expects the probe's data to resolve many outstanding questions at the icy moon.

"We know that ice is a really good place [for life] to do business on Earth," she told the BBC.

"There's plenty of microbial and even some macroscopic organisms that use ice to make a living. It's not so hard to imagine that life like that which lives in Antarctica and in the Arctic might be very possible on Europa."

The Esa executive has put down 68m euros as a kind of placeholder, to give some idea of how much Nasa might like to contribute. The sum is roughly the equivalent of two instruments. However, it should be said that no explicit discussions between Esa and Nasa have taken place concerning which specific instruments might come from across the Atlantic.

One further issue needs to be resolved: the name of the mission. The "Juice" label was dreamt up by the science team who devised the mission concept, but the researchers acknowledge there was a touch of humour in its creation.

They would like to use the name Laplace, after the great 18th/19th-Century French mathematician and astronomer Pierre-Simon Laplace. A number of commentators would like to see Esa run a public competition to find a suitable mission name.

The Juice proposal was chosen over two other ideas - Athena, which envisages the biggest X-ray telescope ever built, and NGO, which would place a trio of high-precision satellites in space to detect gravitational waves.

These defeated concepts will probably now be entered into the next competition, due to be announced next year or the year after.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17917102 

by on May. 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM
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Replies (1-10):
punky3175
by on May. 2, 2012 at 1:02 PM

I would most likely jump at the chance to explore other planets. 

stormcris
by Christy on May. 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM

In a Star Wars scenario perhaps but as it stands now probably not.

DivingDiva
by Gold Member on May. 2, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I love the idea of exploring but not the idea of spending many years or maybe even the rest of my life off of planet Earth.  It would depend on how long the space travel would take and if I would be physically able to survive life on Earth after I was finished exploring.  It would also depend on whether or not the Juice probe makes contact with any stranded Tralfamadorians. 

Spinoff question -

Which was the best Star Trek movie?  The worst?

punky3175
by on May. 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM

The worst one was definitely the first one.  I'd forgotten how "different" William Shatner's acting was.  I'd say my favorite was probably the Voyage Home with the whales.  My son has officially become a Trekkie after the forced marathon.  We even ended with the reboot. The ones with the Next Generation cast are airing later this week and last night he asked when they were recording and mentioned wanting to see the original series.

As for modes of travel - I think Stargates would be a great way to go. :D Yeah I'm a total sci-fi geek.  I think the time involved in traveling long distances in space would be a major deterrent.

Quoting DivingDiva:

I love the idea of exploring but not the idea of spending many years or maybe even the rest of my life off of planet Earth.  It would depend on how long the space travel would take and if I would be physically able to survive life on Earth after I was finished exploring.  It would also depend on whether or not the Juice probe makes contact with any stranded Tralfamadorians. 

Spinoff question -

Which was the best Star Trek movie?  The worst?

 

JessT5280
by Member on May. 2, 2012 at 1:27 PM
1 mom liked this

That article just made my panties wet. 

I am such a nerd. 

punky3175
by on May. 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM
1 mom liked this

I think I <3 you!  Glad to know I'm not alone in my geekiness. :-D 

Quoting JessT5280:

That article just made my panties wet. 

I am such a nerd. 

 

DivingDiva
by Gold Member on May. 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM

 

Quoting punky3175:

The worst one was definitely the first one.  I'd forgotten how "different" William Shatner's acting was.  I'd say my favorite was probably the Voyage Home with the whales.  My son has officially become a Trekkie after the forced marathon.  We even ended with the reboot. The ones with the Next Generation cast are airing later this week and last night he asked when they were recording and mentioned wanting to see the original series.

As for modes of travel - I think Stargates would be a great way to go. :D Yeah I'm a total sci-fi geek.  I think the time involved in traveling long distances in space would be a major deterrent.

Quoting DivingDiva:

I love the idea of exploring but not the idea of spending many years or maybe even the rest of my life off of planet Earth.  It would depend on how long the space travel would take and if I would be physically able to survive life on Earth after I was finished exploring.  It would also depend on whether or not the Juice probe makes contact with any stranded Tralfamadorians. 

Spinoff question -

Which was the best Star Trek movie?  The worst?

 

I agree with you about the first movie being the worst one.  The original concept had promise but the way they carried it out was a complete fail.  The only redeeming part of the movie was Chekov saying "Absolutely I will not interfere".  That's a lot of bad movie to sit through for one decent line.  I'm torn on my favorite between Voyage Home and Wrath of Kahn.  One of the reasons I enjoyed Voyage home so much was because I went to see it with a friend who is a complete tree-hugger and we were in an audience of tree-hugger Trekkies.  The whole audience literally jumped to its feet and applauded when the harpoon hit the Bird of Prey instead of the whales. 

You should totally watch the original series with your son.  That was some real tv.  I have watched a few with my kids.  The next on our list is I, Mudd, mostly for this scene:

You can't get shows like that these days. 

 

If we could have Stargates or wormholes or like that I would definitely be into space exploration. 

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Nope. Space is cool, but scary.

punky3175
by on May. 2, 2012 at 4:19 PM
They have it for sale on Amazon but it's like $56/season. That's just insane! I'm really surprised SyFy or TVLand doesn't show it. My mom is so proud that I turned him into a trekkie so easily. My DD still leaves the room when lost sci-fi shows come on.

Quoting DivingDiva:

 


Quoting punky3175:


The worst one was definitely the first one.  I'd forgotten how "different" William Shatner's acting was.  I'd say my favorite was probably the Voyage Home with the whales.  My son has officially become a Trekkie after the forced marathon.  We even ended with the reboot. The ones with the Next Generation cast are airing later this week and last night he asked when they were recording and mentioned wanting to see the original series.


As for modes of travel - I think Stargates would be a great way to go. :D Yeah I'm a total sci-fi geek.  I think the time involved in traveling long distances in space would be a major deterrent.


Quoting DivingDiva:


I love the idea of exploring but not the idea of spending many years or maybe even the rest of my life off of planet Earth.  It would depend on how long the space travel would take and if I would be physically able to survive life on Earth after I was finished exploring.  It would also depend on whether or not the Juice probe makes contact with any stranded Tralfamadorians. 


Spinoff question -


Which was the best Star Trek movie?  The worst?


 


I agree with you about the first movie being the worst one.  The original concept had promise but the way they carried it out was a complete fail.  The only redeeming part of the movie was Chekov saying "Absolutely I will not interfere".  That's a lot of bad movie to sit through for one decent line.  I'm torn on my favorite between Voyage Home and Wrath of Kahn.  One of the reasons I enjoyed Voyage home so much was because I went to see it with a friend who is a complete tree-hugger and we were in an audience of tree-hugger Trekkies.  The whole audience literally jumped to its feet and applauded when the harpoon hit the Bird of Prey instead of the whales. 


You should totally watch the original series with your son.  That was some real tv.  I have watched a few with my kids.  The next on our list is I, Mudd, mostly for this scene:



You can't get shows like that these days. 


 


If we could have Stargates or wormholes or like that I would definitely be into space exploration. 

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DivingDiva
by Gold Member on May. 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

 

Quoting punky3175:

They have it for sale on Amazon but it's like $56/season. That's just insane! I'm really surprised SyFy or TVLand doesn't show it. My mom is so proud that I turned him into a trekkie so easily. My DD still leaves the room when lost sci-fi shows come on.

Quoting DivingDiva:

 


 


That sucks.  I have always used the "borrow it from uber-nerd brother" method of watching the old Star Trek episodes but I realize not everyone has that option. 

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