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ESA to send probe to Jupiter's icy moons

The European Space Agency will send a probe to Jupiter's icy moons to look for signs of life under the ice, and to see if life could be sustained there, the agency has announced.The Jupiter Icy moons Explorer — Juice — will embark on a mission of over a decade to study Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto as potential habitats, the European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement on Wednesday.
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor on

The European Space Agency will send a probe to Jupiter's icy moons to look for signs of life under the ice, and to see if life could be sustained there, the agency has announced.

The Jupiter Icy moons Explorer — Juice — will embark on a mission of over a decade to study Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto as potential habitats, the European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Jupiter is the archetype for the giant planets of the solar system and for many giant planets being found around other stars," says professor Alvaro Giménez Cañete, ESA's director of science and robotic exploration. "Juice will give us better insight into how gas giants and their orbiting worlds form, and their potential for hosting life."

ESA selected Juice over two other possible probes: NGO, the New Gravitational wave Observatory, to hunt for gravitational waves, and ATHENA, the Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics. Juice arose out of ESA's Jupiter Ganymede Orbiter project.

Juice will be launched in 2022 from the ESA spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on an Ariane 5 launcher. The probe will take eight years to get to Jupiter, and will spend at least three years making observations.

The Juice probe will have a mass of 4.8 tonnes at take-off, and the project will cost approximately £1bn, according to the BBC.

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