JUICE: A EUROPEAN MISSION TO JUPITER AND ITS ICY MOONS
In order to place the moons into the right context, and to better understand the Galilean satellites as a system, the observation strategy is: (i) Conduct a comparative study of Ganymede, Callisto and Europa, with a special focus on Ganymede, which JUICE will characterise in great detail, (ii) Provide a complete spatio-temporal characterisation of the giant, rotating magnetosphere, and of the meteorology, chemistry and structure of Jupiter's atmosphere, (iii) Study coupling processes inside the system, with emphasis on the two coupling processes: gravitational coupling, which ties together Jupiter and its satellite system, and electrodynamic interactions which couple Jupiter and its satellites to its atmosphere, magnetosphere and magnetodisc.
The spacecraft will carry a state-of-the-art scientific payload consisting of remote sensing instruments (imaging system, Vis-near-IR imaging spectrometer, UV spectrograph, submm instrument), geophysical sounders (laser altimeter, sub-surface radar, radio-science, VLBI experiment from the ground), plasma and field experiments (magnetometer, particle package, and radio and plasma wave instrument).
The JUICE mission is nominally planned to be launched in mid-2022. Following orbit insertion early 2030, a two-year tour of the Jovian system is planned focusing on magnetosphere observations and regular monitoring of Jupiter’s atmosphere. This will be followed by two Europa flybys focused on the most active regions. Then, Callisto flybys will enable investigations of the moon, and will be also used to raise the orbit inclination thus giving access to the high latitudes of the Jovian system. The mission will culminate in dedicated Ganymede orbital phases that will characterise Ganymede as a planetary object and potential habitat.