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JUpiter ICy moon Explorer (JUICE)

Following a decision by ESA to reformulate the L-Class missions as European only missions, in April 2011 a new Science Space Team (SST) was formed whose task is to study if and which of the science goals of the original EJSM-Laplace mission concept can be achieved. The new mission is now renamed JUICE (JUipter ICy moon Explorer).


  • JUICE is part of ESA's Cosmic Vision Programme
  • The mission is the in-depth study of Europa and the Jupiter system
  • Assessment Phase to be completed by end 2011
  • Next steps: In February 2012, SPC will select one L-class mission to progress to Definition Phase. This will be followed by further review and possible mission adoption in late 2015
  • Launch scheduled for 2022 at the earliest
  • Arrive Jupiter 2030
  • The mission lifetime is 7-8 year cruise & 4 years in orbit

The overarching goal of JUICE is the study of the emergence of habitable worlds around gas giant planets. It will look to answer such questions as: What have been the conditions for the formation of the Jupiter system? How does Jupiter work? Is Europa habitable? There may be liquid water oceans under the icy crusts of Europa, Ganymede and Callisto; this is the key criterion for habitable worlds. JUICE will carry out an in-depth study of Europa and the Jupiter system, and will carry instruments to monitor dynamic phenomena (volcanoes, atmospheric changes), map the magnetospheres and characterise the water oceans beneath the ice shells. Special emphasis will be placed on studying Europa's habitability in the global context of the Jupiter system.

For further information please see the EJSM / LAPLACE (JUICE) pages on the ESA website.

Mission facts

JUICE will use one robotic orbiter to study the four moons around Jupiter discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610: Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched in 2020 (at the earliest), it will reach the Jupiter system in 2030 and spend at least four years conducting research. The spacecraft will eventually come into orbit around Ganymede where it will spend approximately 280 days circling the satellite.


There will be strong UK science and technology involvement in developing the following instruments for the JGO:

Magnetometer, which will measure the magnetic fields of Jupiter and its moons to gain an understanding of their internal structures and physical processes, and in particular, to confirm the existence of a sub-surface ocean on Ganymede.

JuMMP (Jupiter Magnetosphere and Moons Plasma investigation), which will study the distribution and dynamics of plasma in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, and will also investigate the interaction between the Jupiter and Ganymede magnetospheres.

JUDE (Jovian Ultraviolet Dynamics Experiment), is a broadband ultraviolet imager with specifically designed filters to allow simple wavelength selection to provide high spatially and temporally resolved observations of Ganymede’s and Jupiter’s auroral emissions, with possible extension to atmosphere/torus emissions. These measurements will provide new information on the electromagnetic coupling at both Ganymede and Jupiter.

ORTIS (Oxford/RAL TeraHerz Infrared Sensor), which will map surface and sub-surface temperatures on Ganymede and Jupiter and also make measurements of water vapour abundance and windspeed on Jupiter.

UK involvement

There is continued strong UK involvement in the SST as well as the leadership of the mission, with the following UK  members:

  • Professor Michele Dougherty (Imperial College, London) SST Lead Scientist
  • Emma Bunce (Leicester University) SST member
  • Andrew Coates (Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London) SST member
  • Leigh Fletcher (Oxford University) SST member

There is also a great deal of UK interest in the instrumentation for EJSM/JUICE and the resulting science.

Funding from the UK Space Agency will help the teams prepare for future rounds of competition.

UK industry will play a key role in mission development. Industrial partners will be confirmed following mission selection.

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The UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space.

The UK's thriving space sector contributes £9.1 billion a year to the UK economy and directly employs 28,900 with an average growth rate of almost 7.5%. (The Size and Health of the UK Space Sector 2010/11, preliminary survey results.)

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